Cricket: Sri Lanka in control

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The Independent Online
Australia 256 and 26-0

Sri Lanka 547-8 dec

FEW can have enjoyed so spectacular a Test debut as Romesh Kaluwitharana. Sri Lanka's new wicketkeeper marked his arrival at the pinnacle of the game with a sparkling unbeaten century in Colombo yesterday to carry his side to a record total and put them in the driving seat against Australia, with two days remaining.

Kaluwitharana contributed 132 of Sri Lanka's 547 for 8 dec, which was their highest score in 38 Tests, beating their 497 against New Zealand in Wellington last year. It gave them a first-innings lead of 291 in the opening match of the series, which Australia had reduced by 26 without loss by the close.

Using his feet to the spinners and cutting and hooking the fast bowlers with ease, Kaluwitharana hit 26 fours in his 158-ball innings, which lasted for 203 minutes. He built on the foundation laid down by the experienced left-handers, Asanka Gurusinha and Sri Lankan's captain Arjuna Ranatunga. Resuming in the morning they carried their fourth-wicket partnership to 230, only 10 short of the record the pair set on the same ground against Pakistan in 1986.

Gurusinha played the anchor role to perfection, compiling his highest Test score, 137, in 525 minutes of intense concentration and application. He faced 399 balls and hit 18 fours, beating his previous best of 119 against New Zealand in the second Test at Hamilton last year. Ranatunga made an uncertain start but gradually unveiled a wide range of strokes, hitting three sixes and 15 fours in 127.

AUSTRALIA - First innings 256 (I A Healy 66no; U C Hathurusinghe 4-66).

SRI LANKA - First innings

(overnight: 265 for 3)

A P Gurusinha c Jones b Whitney 137

* A Ranatunga c Warne b Matthews 127

M Atapattu b Matthews 0

R Kaluwitharana not out 132

C P H Ramanayake c Healy b McDermott 0

G P Wickremasinghe c Matthews b McDermott 21

R Madurusinghe not out 5

Extras (b2 lb7 nb13 w1) 23

Total (for 8 dec) 547

Fall (cont): 4-367 5-137 6-463 7-472 8-503.

Did not bat: S D Anurasiri.

Bowling: McDermott 40-9-125-2; Whitney 32-10- 84-1; Moody 17-3-44-0; Waugh 17-3-77-2; Warne 22-2-107-0; Matthews 38-11-93-3; Border 4-1-8-0.

AUSTRALIA - Second innings

T M Moody not out 8

M A Taylor not out 9

Extras (w1 nb8) 9

Total (for 0) 26

To bat: D C Boon, D M Jones, M E Waugh, * A R Border, I A Healy, G R J Matthews, S K Warne, C J McDermott, M R Whitney.

Umpires: K T Francis and T M Samarasinghe.

Ian Bishop, his form and fitness after his stress fracture of the back last year confirmed by his exploits for Derbyshire this season, returns to spearhead the attack for the West Indies on their tour of Australia starting in November.

WEST INDIES SQUAD (to tour Australia): R B Richardson (capt), J C Adams, C E L Ambrose, K L T Arthurton, K C G Benjamin, I R Bishop, A C Cummins, D L Haynes, C L Hooper, B C Lara, A L Logie, J R Murray, B E Patterson, P V Simmons, C A Walsh and D Williams (wkt).