Victorious Sri Lanka seek to clear name

Cricket West Indies 160 for 8 Sri Lanka 161 for 6 (Sri Lanka win by four wickets)
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The Independent Online

West Indies 160 for 8 Sri Lanka 161 for 6 (Sri Lanka win by four wickets)

Sri Lanka fought back on two counts yesterday. They added to the woes of the West Indies yesterday by defeating them in the opening fixture in the World Series and they are to seek an official apology after claiming they were not guilty of ball tampering during the first Test against Australia in Perth last week.

Thilanga Sumathipala, the vice-president of the Board of Control for in Sri Lanka, said his players had been wrongly found to have altered the condition of the ball.

"This has done irreparable damage to Sri Lankan cricket," he said. "We know 100 per cent that the players did not do this. Before we leave Australia someone must clear us."

Sumathipala criticised Graham Dowling, the match referee, over his handling of the incident and said that the umpires had made a mistake in not replacing the ball when they first noticed the damage. He argued that the condition of the ball in question at the time of the incident could not be judged by the ICC because it sustained further wear and tear during the innings. "If there is no evidence then we are not guilty," he said.

West Indies, distracted by the dispute surrounding absent batsman Brian Lara and beset by poor form, gave a lacklustre performance as their fellow tourists cruised to victory with five overs to spare at the Adelaide Oval. Batting first after losing the toss, Richie Richardson's side, who were bowled out for 92 by the Australian Academy earlier this week, struggled again with the bat, labouring to a disappointing 160 for 8 from their allotted 50 overs.

Sri Lanka recovered from losing their opener, Roshan Mahanama, to the first ball of the innings and replied with a disciplined 161 for 6, based largely on a fine innings of 46 from 61 balls by Aravinda de Silva, who scored more freely than any other batsman on a slow, turning wicket.

"We are still struggling," Richardson, the West Indies captain, said. "The way we are playing, we just have to work a bit harder."

All players in the triangular tournament - which also features Australia - are wearing numbers on their shirts for the first time in a match in Australia to help identification.