Cricket: Williams steers W Indies home

Sri Lanka 223 and 152 West Indies 189 and 189-4 West Indies win by six wickets
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The Independent Online
The West Indies shook off the collywobbles that had overcome them over the first two days and coasted to a comprehensive victory over Sri Lanka midway through the third day of the first Test between the teams on Caribbean soil yesterday.

Set 187 to win after completing Sri Lanka's second innings with the second ball of the morning, the openers Sherwin Campbell and Stuart Williams appeared as if they would do it all on their own while they were comfortably adding 160. But, with their goal in sight, carelessness that seems the inevitable companion of West Indian batsmen these days suddenly enveloped the batsmen and four wickets were lost before the win could be claimed.

Williams holed out to long-on for 83, compiled with two sixes, 12 fours and great certainty, and Campbell top-edged a sweep to short fine-leg after scoring a more measured 79 with seven fours. Their stand was the highest for the first wicket for the West Indies since Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes put on 298 against England on the same Antigua Recreation Ground seven years ago, and only the second of better than 100 since Greenidge left the scene in 1971.

It emphasises one of the main problems the West Indies have had to contend with in trying to rebuild a side of genuine strength.

Williams and Campbell both fell to the little off-spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, who had mesmerised the tail end the day before with five wickets for three runs as the West Indies collapsed dramatically.

When Campbell was out only nine were required and Brian Lara strode out on to the ground where he made his 375 against England three years ago intent on finishing things off with two blows. He hoisted his first ball from Muralitharan over mid-wicket for four and the second directly into the lap of long-off.

There was further consolation, but nothing more, for the Sri Lankans when Kumara Dharmasena went through the newcomer Floyd Reifer with a perfect quick yorker before Carl Hooper formalised the result with a flourish, a long perfect straight six off Muralitharan.

Third day; West Indies won toss

SRI LANKA - First Innings 223 (S T Jayasuriya 85; C E L Ambrose 5-37).

WEST INDIES - First innings 189 (S Campbell 50, M Muralitharan 5-34).

SRI LANKA - Second innings

(Overnight: 151 for 8)

S de Silva not out 2

M Muralitharan c Williams b Rose 0

H P Tillakaratne absent injured

Extras (lb2, nb7) 9

Total (35 overs) 152

Fall (cont): 9-152.

Bowling: Ambrose 9-0-41-3; Walsh 10-0-37-1; Rose 9-1-43-3; Bishop 7- 0-29-2.

WEST INDIES - Second innings

S O Campbell c Mahanama b Muralitharan 79

S Williams c sub b Muralitharan 83

F L Reifer b Dharmasena 1

B C Lara c sub b Muralitharan 4

C L Hooper not out 6

R L Holder not out 0

Extras (b4, lb2, w1, nb9) 16

Total (for 4, 49.2 overs) 189

Did not bat: C O Browne, I R Bishop, C E L Ambrose, F A Rose, *C A Walsh.

Umpires: L Barker (West Indies), S Dunne (New Zealand). Match referee: Talat Ali (Pakistan).

Second Test: 20-24 June, Arnos Vale, St Vincent.