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Sarwan keeps West Indies afloat

GEORGETOWN (Guyana): The West Indies dulled Sri Lanka’s bid for victory on Wednesday with Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan hitting half centuries and sharing a partnership of 134 on the fifth and final day of the opening Test at Providence Stadium.

Set an improbable victory target of 437, the West Indies went to lunch on 170 for two after resuming on 96 for one.

Bravo, promoted to open the batting for the first time in Tests, struck 10 fours and a six in 83 before he fell to ace off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Sarwan followed his first innings topscore of 80 with an unbeaten 51. The Guyanese right-hander faced 138 deliveries.

Marlon Samuels went to the break on nine not out.

Muralitharan bowled unchanged for 16 overs throughout the morning session and managed to claim the only wicket.

The Sri Lankans had little encouragement in the two-hour session as Bravo and Sarwan stretched their stand.

The visitors had to wait until 20 minutes before lunch for their first success when Bravo, in sight of a third Test hundred, drove a sharp return catch to Muralitharan.

In Sri Lanka’s second turn at batting, opener Malinda Warnapura continued his prolific form on tour with a top score of 62. The left-hander hit five fours off 91 balls.

Thilan Samaraweera made up for a first-innings duck by compiling an unbeaten 56 off 89 balls with five boundaries. Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn took three for 59, including skipper Jayawardene as his maiden Test wicket. Sri Lanka’s second innings breezed along at more than four runs an over as it built on its formidable lead. — Agencies

SCOREBOARD

Sri Lanka — 1st innings: 476 (for eight decl).

West Indies — 1st innings: 280.

Sri Lanka — 2nd innings: M. Vandort c Ramdin b Gayle 24, M. Warnapura c Ramdin b Bravo 62, K. Sangakkara c (sub) Edwards b Bravo 21, M. Jayawardene c Chanderpaul b Benn 33, T. Samaraweera (not out) 56, T. Dilshan lbw b Taylor 4, C. Vaas c Ramdin b Benn 13, M. Mirando c Taylor b Benn 14, P. Jayawardene (not out) 5, Extras (b-2, lb-1, nb-5) 8, Total (for seven wkts. Decl. in 57 overs) 240.

Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-94, 3-133, 4-159, 5-171, 6-192, 7-224.

West Indies bowling: Powell 9-0-33-0, Taylor 8-0-37-1, Bravo 14-0-54-2, Benn 13-0-59-3, Gayle 13-1-54-1

West Indies — 2nd innings: D. Smith c Thushara b Vaas 10, D. Bravo c and b Muralitharan 83, R. Sarwan (batting) 51, M. Samuels (batting) 9, Extras: (b-13, lb-2, nb-2) 17; Total: (for two wickets at lunch) 170.

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-156.

Sri Lanka bowling: Vaas 10-3-35-1, Thushara 4-1-31-0, Herath 20-6-37-0, Muralitharan 22-2-52-1.

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