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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Giant killing act by Sri Lankans over Windies

CRICKET: Sri Lankans are well-known as giant killers as far as the game of cricket is concerned. The Lankans have had their 'ups and downs' and at times the cricketers have come off with stunning performances that have made the cricket world admire the performances of the team on that particular day.

The Nehru Cup cricket tournament organised by the Indian Cricket Board in 1989, saw Sri Lanka pull off a extra-ordinary win against the West Indies on October 19th 1989. The West Indies came into this game after beating India and Sri Lanka lost a close match to India by just six runs. West Indies made 176 for 9 wickets in 50 overs and Sri Lanka made 180 for six wickets in 47.1 overs.

So, the stage was set for a electrifying contest between the West Indies and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankans were prepared for the arduous task. They believed in their skill to restrict the West Indies and it was this factor that made skipper Arjuna Ranatunga to put the West Indies to bat after winning the toss.

Athula Samarasekera and Hashan Tillakeratne, were not familiar names on the cricket world at that stage. The two had played very little cricket for Sri Lanka. In fact, as batsmen, they had not made any major contribution to Sri Lanka's fortunes. However, on a very warm day in Rajkot, these two - Athula Samarasekera and Hashan Tillekeratne turned out to be the star performers.

The favourites West Indies who fumbled at Sharjah in the Champions Trophy, had another disastrous beginning here in the Nehru Cup.

With a packed off-side field and bowling concentrated around the off stump, the batsmen did not have the risk of playing across the line. But Desmond Haynes and Viv Richards waited for the opportunity to attack. Even the spinners Asoka de Silva and Aravinda de Silva would have been surprised by the respect their bowling had from the Windies batsmen.

Valuable

It happened at one point that the West Indies might not even see a total of 150 to defend. But Augustine Logie, not certain of playing the match earlier, scored a valuable 54 not out. Logie is always a crisis man for the West Indies and he did not fail them for yet another time. The lofted shots between square leg and mid-wicket yielded quick runs.

That West Indies were able to score 176 in 50 overs reflected on the ability of the Sri Lankan bowlers, supported by the delightful outcricket especially from Samarasekera and Tillekeratne.

Probably Sri Lanka would have found a target of 200 plus a tougher proposition, since the West Indies had the better force to attack. Sri Lanka was three down for 45, but left-hander Asanka Gurusinha and skipper Arjuna Ranatunga held the innings together and stemmed the rot.

The pick of the West Indies bowlers was Winston Benjamin. He saw the early exit of dangerman Aravinda de Silva for just one run. Richards was given duo respect by both the batsmen.

But Ian Bishop, in his second spell, sprayed all over the wicket and Gurusinha and Ranatunga worked him behind square leg and helped Sri Lanka to the target. It was a gusty and graceful knock from Gurusinha that steered the Lankans to victory. He made 66 and was rightly adjudged 'Man of the Match' by a former Test star G. S. Ramchand, the adjudicator.

Samarasekera and Tillekeratne got the applause in plenty and were in the middle when moments of triumph came. Gurusinha was bowled by Benjamin and Richards' fine catch saw the exit of Ranatunga for 34.

Smarasekera (12 not out) and Tillekeratne (10 not out) between them, would have saved nearly 50 runs when Sri Lanka fielded. They also scored the required runs for Sri Lanka to accomplish a historical win. Tillekeratne punched a Carlisle Best delivery to point, and that clinched the victory.

Clicked

Sri Lanka's plan worked out well. Ravi Ratnayake, the most experienced bowler in the side, Graeme Labrooy and Kapila Wijegunawardena did not err in line and length.

With the pacemen bowling to a set plan, it gave no scope for the West Indies batsmen to attack. And when a few batsmen did venture for the big hit, Hashan Tillekeratne in the covers and Athula Samarasekera at sweeper cover were simply great on the field.

Seldom in the past the powerful West Indies batting line-up had been under tremendous pressure.

The Windies were struggling against the Sri Lankan attack. Samarasekera and Tillekeratne were positioned at the right place. They were superb on the field. Their contribution was immense help to the Lankans.

 
WEST INDIES
D. Haynes c Labrooy b Aravinda de Silva	 	42
P. Simmons c Asoka de Silva b Ratnayake	  	 7
R. Richardson c Ranatunga b Ratnayake	  	 5
V. Richards b Wijegunaratne 	 		24
G. Logie not out 	 			54
C. Best b Asoka de Silva 	  		 6
J. Dujong c Ratnayake b Asoka de Silva	  	 4
W. Benjamin b Wijeguneratne 	  		 7
C. Ambrose c Gurusinha b Aravinda de Silva	 2
I. Bishop run out 	  			 3
C. Walsh not out 	 			13
Extras: (lb-2, w-7)	  			 9
TOTAL: (for 9 wkts in 50 overs)			176

Fall of Wickets: 1-12, 2-20, 3-83, 4-86, 5-96, 6-108, 
7-141, 8-144, 9-157.
Bowling: Ratnayake 10-1-36-2, Labrooy 7-0-27-0, A. Ranatunga 3-0-14-0, 
R. Wijegunaratne 10-1-27-2, Asoka de Silva 10-0-30-2, Aravinda de Silva 10-1-33-2.

SRI LANKA
R. Mahanama c Dujon b Benjamin	 	12
B. Kuruppu c Richards b Bishop	  	 1
A. Gurusinha b Benjamin	 		66
Aravinda de Silva c Dujon b Benjamin	 1
R. Ratnayake c and b Richards	 	18
A. Ranatunga c Richards b Ambrose	34
A. Samarasekera not out	 		12
H. Tillekeratne not out 	 	10
Extras: (lb-10, w-2, nb-2)		14
TOTAL: (for 6 wkts in 47.1 overs)	180

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-43, 3-45, 4-80, 5-145, 6-156.
Bowling: Ambrose 10-2-27-1, Bishop 10-1-44-1, Walsh 10-0-35-0, Benjamin 9-0-22-3, 
Richards 6-0-23-1, Simmons 2-0-11-0, Best 1-0-4-0.

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