Lanka thump Windies by four wickets
Colombo: Sri Lanka produced a solid batting display with captain Kumar Sangakkara leading from the front as they scored an emphatic four-wicket win over West Indies in their warm-up game ahead of the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.
Chasing 282 for a win, Sri Lanka romped home with 15 balls to spare with Sangakkara top-scoring with a 89-ball 71 in their second and final World Cup warm-up game at R Premadasa Stadium.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (62) and Thilan Samaraweera (55) were the other main contributors.
Sri Lanka, who had beaten the Netherlands by 156 runs in their first warm-up game on February 12, open their World Cup campaign against Canada at Hambantota on February 20.
Sri Lanka made a flying start in their run chase with openers Upul Tharanga (18) and Dilshan putting on 67 runs in 10 overs before the former was out.
Sangakkara and Dilshan then stitched on 38 runs for the second wicket before the partnership was broken at 105 for two in the 19th over.
Former captain Mahela Jayawardene (20) fell soon after without contributing much but Sangakkara and Samaraweera took the game out of West Indies` hands with a solid 100-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Sangakkara was out in the 40th over but by that time Sri Lanka needed less than 50 runs from last 10 overs and though Samaraweera could not finish the match, Chamara Kapugedera (18 not out) ensured that Sri Lanka surpassed the target in 47.3 overs.
For West Indies, Sulieman Benn was the most successful bowler with three for 40.
Earlier, explosive opening batsman Chris Gayle and wicketkeeper Darren Bravo stuck half-centuries to guide West Indies to 281 all out after West Indies elected to bat.
Gayle played in his usual flamboyant style, scoring 58 off 38 balls with the help of eight fours and a six while Darren Bravo`s 54 came from 78 balls.
The duo stitched 83 runs for the second wicket in 10.4 overs after the other opener Devon Smith was out for a three-ball duck in the first over itself of the bowling of Lasith Malinga.
Runs came thick and fast with Gayle firing on all cylinders, but the opener was soon out by the 12th over and the pace slowed down a bit after his departure, bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan.
Bravo and first warm-up game centurion Ramanaresh Sarwan then took charge and stitched a 74-run stand for the third wicket as West Indies reached 169 for four by the 29th over.
West Indies looked like top reach 300 but they stuttered after Bravo and Sarwan fell in quick succession, both to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo and captain Darren Sammy got the starts but failed to make a big contribution.
Lower down the order, Carlton Baugh Jr (29) and Andre Russell (19) made useful contributions in the last five overs which yielded 42 runs.
Sri Lanka`s bowling was a concern as Thisara Perera, who shared the new ball with Lasith Malinga, going for 45 runs off just five overs while Dilhara Fernando`s six overs costing 50 runs.
Malinga and Herath finished with three wickets apiece giving away 33 and 39 runs respectively.
West Indies: 281 all out in 50 overs (Chris Gayle 58, Darren Bravo 54; Lasith Malinga 3/33).
Sri Lanka: 282 for six wickets in 47.3 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 71, Tillakaratne Dilshan 62, Thilan Samaraweera 55; Sulieman Benn 3/40).