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Warnapura century inspires Sri Lanka

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA (AP) — Sri Lanka opener Malinda Warnapura hit a maiden century before Jerome Taylor claimed three wickets to revive West Indies on the opening day of the first Test on Saturday.

Sri Lanka closed on 269 for four with Warnapura topscoring with 120. The 28-year-old left-hander was particularly strong through the offside and clubbed 14 boundaries off 216 balls in four and a half hours at Providence Stadium.

Warnapura, the nephew of Sri Lanka’s first test captain Bandula Warnapura, said his family would be particularly proud.

He was also keen to dedicate the innings to his father, Upali, a useful left-handed allrounder who supported his career from the start.

My father would be the guy who would be most happy today, Warnapura said. I had to wait so long to play test cricket and to get a test hundred as well.

Fellow left-handers Michael Vandort (52) and Kumar Sangakkara (50) also made solid contributions.

Vandort hit eight fours and notched 1,000 runs in his 15th test before his dismissal.

Sangakkara counted three boundaries before he fell to the impressive Taylor.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene was unbeaten on 25 at the close, with Tillekeratne Dilshan on 15 not out.

Taylor took three for 59, including two wickets in one over late in the day. Dwayne Bravo took one for 48.

Taylor admitted the pitch was a good batting surface and that his team had to work hard to maintain parity.

Coming here to play, we didn’t expect anything better than what is happening now, Taylor said. We know this is Guyana and the wickets, they are all pretty flat.

So we have to come out, we have to fight hard and try to give our best and put West Indies in the front, the Jamaican added. So said, so done. Right now, the Sri Lankans are actually in front but not too far away from us.

Warnapura and Vandort gave Sri Lanka a fine start after Jayawardene won the toss. The new pair shared a record opening stand of 130 either side of lunch.

The pair beat the previous best for Sri Lanka against West Indies of 126 between Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya in St. Lucia on their last tour in 2003.

Warnapura admitted he benefited from scoring a century and a half century in the warmup match a few days earlier on the same ground.

We got a great opportunity to play the three-day game at the same venue. We got maximum use out of it, he said. I’m happy. I really enjoyed it.

West Indies struggled during the first session and the visitors lunched at 85 without loss.

Vandort survived an early run-out chance but there was little encouragement for the home team in the first two hours.

West Indies managed its first strike midway through the day when Vandort was leg before to an inswinging yorker from Taylor.

But Warnapura and Sangakkara continued Sri Lanka’s dominance in a second-wicket stand of 75.

Warnapura brought up his maiden century half an hour before tea off 182 balls. He survived one chance on 95 when Bravo at slip floored an edge off Chris Gayle’s offspin. He finally fell to a leg side catch to the wicketkeeper off Bravo at 205-2.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene, the heart of Sri Lanka’s batting, were threatening total dominance when Taylor tilted the balance.

Sangakkara had just raised his bat for a half century when Taylor found his edge to a flashing drive and Devon Smith held on at first slip at 243-3.

Two balls later, Thilan Samaraweera chipped a Taylor slower ball to short midwicket and West Indies was back in the contest.

Dilshan began shakily but clubbed two fours in one Taylor over to send the teams to stumps evenly balanced. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Warnapura century inspires Sri Lanka – found here.

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March 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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