Cricket: Class of Lara proves decisive

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The Independent Online
Sri Lanka 188-6; West Indies 190-3

West Indies win by seven wickets

THE second Hero Cup semi-final here failed to live up to India's remarkable two-run victory in the first. Sri Lanka were no match for the West Indies, who now meet India in tomorrow's final.

Sri Lanka, having been put in, lost their first five wickets for 77, but Aravinda De Silva and Ruwan Kalpage then pulled the innings round and they finished on 188 for 6.

There was plenty of excitement at the start of the West Indies innings, when Pramodya Wickramasinghe removed Desmond Haynes and Phil Simmons in his first two overs. Haynes shuffled across his stumps to his first ball and was palpably lbw and then Simmons played forward with his bat away from his body and was caught at second slip.

This brought together the two left-handers. Brian Lara and Keith Arthurton, and with some glorious strokeplay they punished some poor bowling backed up by worse fielding.

Lara and Arthurton added 163 in 219 minutes before Lara lost concentration and was bowled driving wildly at the off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Richie Richardson took his place, and there were no further slip-ups.

Lara was made man of the match for his innings 82, which took 119 balls and confirmed his brilliance as a stroke-maker, while Arthurton continued to bat with his new- found sense of maturity.

The Sri Lankans had begun well, with Roshan Mahahama and Sanath Jayasuriya both going for their strokes. Once wickets began to fall, however, the run rate dried up. They were then given an outside chance by a robust partnership of 109 in 116 balls between De Silva and Kalpage. They took 42 off the last four overs, De Silva even driving Curtly Ambrose over extra cover for six.

HERO CUP Semi-final (Calcutta): Sri Lanka 188 for 6 (PA De Silva 68, RS Kalpage 41no); West Indies 190 for 3 (BC Lara 82, KLT Arthurton 72). West Indies won by seven wickets.