Shamik Das


Monday, April 02, 2007

Clinical Lankans leave hosts trailing in their wake

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene picks off an easy single beyond a sprawling Brian Lara    Lasith Malinga celebrates the wicket of danger man Chris Gayle

Guyana, World Cup, Super Eights: West Indies 190 (44.3 overs) lost to Sri Lanka 303/5 (50 overs) by 113 runs

The West Indies were left cursing a hectic schedule last night as they slumped to their third defeat in five days.

By the time the hosts resume hostilities a week tomorrow they could be all but out, knowing not even victory in their last three games will guarantee them progress into the semi-finals.

"It was tough, we've had four games in 10 days and you could feel some of the guys were a bit flat in the outfield," said Windies captain Brian Lara.

"We played on Friday the 23rd, today is the 1st. Australia took two days, New Zealand was the next day, and here we are on Sunday in Guyana.

"It's tough. And I mean if you look at someone like Daren Powell you can see that his pace dropped over a period of time. He seems to have dropped about 10 kilometres in the last few days."

Brian Lara cuts a lonely figure as he ascends the stairs to the Windies dressing room

Lara however insisted that his team would fight on. "I know everyone's disappointed in the dressing room and in the Caribbean but we've still got a job to do," he added.

"We're going to have a couple of days off and re-assess the situation. We have to be sure we are fresh for the last three matches.

"We need a lot of good cricket and a lot of luck.

"Yes, I am an eternal optimist and I still think we can make it. When I watch England play and South Africa play, I'm going to support a certain team.

"It still boils down to us beating South Africa, Bangladesh and England to give us any glimmer of hope and that is a job only we can do.

"No permutation can help if we don't do that job."

Sanath Jayasuriya sways out of the way of a bouncer early in his innings  Sanath Jayasuriya punishes the short ball en route to his century  Sanath Jayasuriya looks to the heavens after another memorable ton

Earlier Sanath Jayasuriya clubbed his 25th one-day international century - hitting 115 off 101 balls - as he and skipper Mahela Jayawardene (82) added 183 runs for the third wicket to help Sri Lanka set a formidable total.

The hosts weren't helped by some sloppy fielding - a four through Jerome Taylor's legs off the penultimate ball of the innings the salt in Windies wounds - and weren't much better with the bat, only local boys Shivnarine Chanderpaul - whose 76 contained five sixes - and Ramnaresh Sarwan (44) offering any resistance.

And the star performer with the ball? None other than a certain Mr S Jayasuriya, who clean bowled last man Daren Powell to finish with figures of 8.3-0-38-3 as the West Indies slumped to their worst ever World Cup defeat and slid inexorably towards the exit door.

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