Second Test Match


At St. Vincent, June 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. Drawn. Toss: Sri Lanka.

A tense finish to a memorable inaugural Test at picturesque Arnos Vale was spoiled by bad light and showers. Sri Lanka had dominated most of the exchanges, but when the umpires offered Arjuna Ranatunga the light late on the final day, he was relieved to come off at 233 for eight, still 36 from victory.

West Indies' carefree batting again let them down. Sent in on a pitch holding no terrors, they lasted 44.4 overs: only Hooper applied himself. Williams top-edged a hook in Pushpakumara's first over and Reifer was plumb lbw next ball. Lara made it five for three, lobbing back to Sanjeewa de Silva, and they never really recovered. The last five wickets fell for 21 as Muralitharan combined with Pushpakumara, who induced one of Hooper's few mistakes, a firm drive that found mid-on. That ended two and three-quarter hours' exquisite batting in which Hooper hit a six and ten fours.

Sri Lanka replied with a flourish and closed ten ahead with only three men out. But they could not recapture their momentum next day, when West Indies fought back gallantly, with defensive fields supported by cleverly orchestrated lines of attack. From 178 for three, the last seven Sri Lankans subsided for 44, Jayasuriya, who had batted aggressively against the new ball to run up 80 in 107 deliveries, with 11 fours, needed 41 more balls to score another ten. He was lbw padding out a drifter from Hooper, who completed his best first-class figures, five for 26.

The deficit was only 75 and West Indies' batsmen soon made up for their first-innings indiscretions, with Lara stealing the show. After three failures and a fine for arriving late for the First Test, he accumulated a determined century, his tenth in Tests. He raised his bat again at 111, aware he had amassed 4,000 Test runs, before he miscued Dharmasena to mid wicket. He had struck 11 fours and a six and batted 266 minutes and 207 balls. When Lara was out, West Indies led by 197. Holder and Ambrose stretched that with an eighth-wicket stand of 53 before Muralitharan wrapped up the innings, taking his haul for the series to 16. He finished by dismissing Walsh for his 25th Test duck, which passed Danny Morrison's record.

By the end of the rain-interrupted fourth day, the match hung in the balance, with Sri Lanka 97 for two pursuing 269. West Indies had held a marginal edge until Aravinda de Silva unleashed a calculated assault, lashing 34 in 28 balls, including 18 from Bishop's third over. He lost Mahanama on the final, sunny morning, but he and Arjuna Ranatunga took lunch at 179 for three, just 90 from their goal.

Heavy rain swept across the ground to wipe out the next session. Then, after tea, Walsh bowled De Silva with a perfect off-stump yorker. As the tension mounted, no one else could establish a stand with Ranatunga; he remained unbeaten on 72 after more than three hours when the weather had the final say.

Man of the Match: C. L. Hooper.

Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 157-3 (S. T. Jayasuriya 80*, A. Ranatunga 0*); Second day, West Indies 19-0 (S. L. Campbell 13*, S. C. Williams 6*); Third day, West Indies 128-2 (B. C. Lara 30*, F. L. Reifer 15*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 97-2 (R. S. Mahanama 26*, P. A. De Silva 34*).

© John Wisden & Co