They marked the opening of Test cricket's 78th venue yesterday with pomp and ceremony, but Sri Lanka utterly spoiled the celebrations on the first day of the second Test at the picturesque Arnos Vale ground beside the glistening Caribbean sea.
Captain Arjuna Ranatunga took the brave decision to bowl first on winning the toss - made with a coin specially minted for the occasion - and had it thoroughly justified as the West Indies were routed for 147 half an hour before tea. Sri Lanka had consolidated 40 minutes after the break with an unbroken opening stand of 52 between Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahamana.
In sunny, breezy weather, and on a hard true pitch that offered no excuses for the frail West Indian batting, Sri Lanka held the initiative within half an hour when their contrasting fast bowlers Ravindra Pushpakumara and the left arm Sajeewa de Silva removed the first three wickets for five runs in the space of 18 balls.
Pushpakumara, burly and bustling, accounted for Stuart Williams to a gloved hook and Floyd Reifer lbw with successive balls in his first over, and de Silva removed the strangely struggling Brian Lara who tapped back a tame return catch fifth ball after contributing one.
Lara was out for 0 and 4 in the first Test and his declining form has compounded his continued problems with authority that resulted in his being fined half his match fee for his late arrival prior to the first Test.
After his dismissal only a classy 81 by Carl Hooper, made off 118 balls with a pulled six off de Silva and 10 fours and not a blemish until he was eighth out, held up the Sri Lankans.
Once the fast bowlers had done their work the off-spinners Kumara Dharmasena and Muttiah Muralitharan ensured there was no way out for the West Indies.
Dharmasena claimed opener Sherwin Campbell to a slip catch with his first ball and by lunch Muralitharan had taken the first of his three wickets, Roland Holder caught close in off bat and pad.
But it was Pushpakumara who took care of the tail, finishing off the innings with three of the last four wickets and final figures of 5 for 41. His chief victim was Hooper who on drove a catch to mid-on.
First day; Sri Lanka won toss
WEST INDIES - First Innings
S L Campbell c Mahanama b Dharmasena 20
S C Williams c Kaluwitharana b Pushpakumara 0
F L Reifer lbw b Pushpakumara 0
B C Lara c and b S C de Silva 1
C L Hooper c Atapattu b Pushpakumara 81
R I Holder c Atapattu b Muralitharan 16
I R Bishop b Muralitharan 11
C O Browne b Pushpakumara 0
C E L Ambrose b Pushpakumara 7
F A Rose b Muralitharan 1
*C A Walsh not out 2
Extras (b3, lb3, nb3) 9
Fall: 1-2, 2-2, 3-5, 4-34, 5-92; 6-126, 7-133, 8-140, 9-145.
Bowling: S C De Silva 13-2-46-1 (nb1); Pushpakumara 12.4-1-41-5; Dharmasena 7-1-26-1; Muralitharan 12-1-28-3 (nb2).
SRI LANKA - First Innings
S T Jayasuriya not out 30
R S Mahanama not out 28 , 28
Total (for 0) 63
To bat: M S Atapattu, P A de Silva, *A Ranatunga, R S Kaluwitharana, S Ranatunga, H D P K Dharmasena, K P Pushpakumara, S C de Silva, M Muralitharan.
Umpires: S A Bucknor (West Indies) and D B Cowie (New Zealand).
n The Surrey coach Dave Gilbert is calling for Test match weather regulations to be introduced into the County Championship after the rain-ravaged start to the season.
Gilbert believes that provision should be made for county games to be able to make up for time which is lost to the elements during the day by extending the evening session.
In Test cricket play can go on for up to an extra hour to claw back part of any stoppages which may have been incurred during the day and there is a similar regulation in force in the second XI three-day competition. But no such rules are in place in the Championship, a situation which Gilbert thinks should change. "Surely the game is all about trying to make up for time if rain intervenes," he said.Reuse content