Hall criticises 'madness' as rain disrupts West Indies

Sri Lanka 354 West Indies 272-4
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Wes Hall, the president of the West Indies Cricket Board, yesterday criticised the International Cricket Council for scheduling matches in the Caribbean in June at the start of the wet season as the first Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka was disrupted for the second successive day by a sodden outfield. The abandonment of play yesterday without a ball being bowled virtually ensured a draw.

Noting that three one-day internationals had to be abandoned in Jamaica in June last year during 11 successive days of rain, Hall called the ICC's recent placing of two annual back-to-back series "an exercise in cricketing madness".

"You may ask them why, as president, I don't change it," he said. "I can only say that the West Indies board has only one vote at the ICC and I can only hope that we are able to convince the authorities that it is madness to play in June."

The staging of the double series was introduced two years ago as part of the ICC's 10-year programme. Four earlier Tests and seven one-day internationals in April and May were not affected by the weather.

Torrential rain ended play midway through Sunday, the third day of the Test, the first at the modern Bausejours Stadium. Further early morning downpours again flooded the outfield so that no play was possible before tea. A strong breeze helped dry the ground but there was no play before tea.

The main interest if, and when, the match does resume is on Brian Lara. The West Indies captain was 93, seven away from his 21st Test hundred, when play was abandoned with the West Indies 272 for 4 replying to Sri Lanka's 354.

Lara and Wavell Hinds had seized the initiative early on Sunday sharing in a 174-run third-wicket stand, but tempers had frayed with the controversial dismissal of Ramnaresh Sarwan. Sarwan was given out caught off a rebound. However, television replays showed that the umpire Billy Bowden's decision was an error.

Fourth day; Sri Lanka won toss

SRI LANKA - First Innings 354 (M S Atapattu 118, K C Sangakkara 56; C D Collymore 5-67).

WEST INDIES - First Innings
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.