Sri Lanka gain 196-run lead
Wednesday, 26 March 2008

West Indies v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Guyana, 4th day


West Indies' last wicket-pair of Jerome Taylor and Daren Powell played out 35 balls on day four to avert the follow-on but Sri Lanka still claimed a 196-run lead.

Having bowled the hosts out for 280, Sri Lanka's batsmen have a short break before approaching the task of effectively shutting out the opposition once and for all.

West Indies began the day needing eight runs to avoid the follow-on. It wasn't as nerve-wracking as one would've expected given Test cricket's most prolific wicket-taker had the ball against Nos 10 and 11. Both Taylor and Powell got well forward to smother Muttiah Muralitharan's spin and even went back and across to flick runs past square leg and midwicket. One flick to a full toss went perilously close to midwicket and there was also a confident shout against Powell as he played back in his crease, but there were also cheeky dabs past Kumar Sangakkara, 'keeping in place of the injured Prasanna Jayawardene, and a couple of confident drives.

Consecutive glides off Muralitharan past slip for three eased West Indies past the mark but the end came just after as Mahela Jayawardene claimed a very low catch at second slip off a loose Powell drive to Thilan Thushara. The stubborn last-wicket stand was only worth 28 in 14.5 overs but was definitely a psychological gain for the hosts.

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