Torrential rain that transformed the outfield into a lake within an hour ended play midway through the third day of the first Test yesterday with the West Indies holding the marginal advantage.
The match was abandoned with 52.2 of the day's scheduled overs remaining with the West Indies 272 for 4, 82 in arrears, and fuming over the contentious dimissal of Ramnaresh Sarwan that once more raised the issue of the use of television replays for difficult decisions.
Their position was based on the left-hander Wavell Hinds' 113, his fourth Test hundred including four sixes and eight fours, and his partnership of 174 with his captain, Brian Lara, who was 92 and set for his 21st Test hundred when the weather intervened.
Sarwan was just establishing himself at 262 for 3 after Hinds was run out following a disagreement with Lara over a single to mid-on when he pulled a rare long-hop from the off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan on to Kumar Sangakkara's ankle at short-leg. As the ball rebounded to be caught by Marvan Atapattu at mid-wicket, the Sri Lankans claimed the catch that the umpire, Billy Bowden, allowed after consultation with his colleague Daryl Harper.
Within seconds of Bowden's confirmation of the decision, television replays were showing that the ball clearly pitched into the turf as much six inches before striking Sangakkara. But Bowden, under International Cricket Council regulations, had no recourse to his colleague monitoring the replays in a booth in the media centre.
Second and third days; Sri Lanka won toss
SRI LANKA - First Innings (Friday: 250-4)
M S Atapattu c Lara b Hinds 118
T T Samaraweera c Jacobs b Collymore 11
R S Kaluwitharana lbw b Collymore 2
K S Lokuarachchi c Lara b Collymore 15
W P U Vaas c Jacobs b Gayle 38
M Muralitharan lbw b Hinds 14
R A P Nissanka not out 13
Extras (b4 lb4 w5 nb8) 21
Total (143.2 overs) 354
Fall (cont): 5-266 6-269 7-285 8-288 9-326.
Bowling: Dillon 29-7-48-0; Collymore 29-4-67-5; Taylor 27-3-9- 0; Hinds 11-4-28-2; Banks 33-8-74-1; Gayle 9.2-1-22-2; Samuels 3-0-9-0; Sarwan 2-1-1-0.
WEST INDIES - First Innings (Saturday: 161 for 2)
C H Gayle lbw b Muralitharan 27
D Ganga lbw b Vaas 12
W W Hinds run out 113
B C Lara not out 93
R R Sarwan c Atapattu b Muralitharan 7
M N Samuels not out 5
Extras (lb3 nb12) 15
Total (for 4, 74.2 overs) 272
Fall: 1-18 2-66 3-240 4-262.
To bat: R D Jacobs, O A C Banks, M Dillon, C D Collymore, J E Taylor.
Bowling: Vaas 24.2-4-62-1; Nissanka 12-0-69-0; Samaraweera 4-0-31-0; Muralitharan 25-2-92-2; Lokuarachchi 9-3-15-0.
Umpires: B F Bowden and D J Harper.
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