Wonderful Warnapura waves his wand
|Malinda Warnapura swings one to the fence during the first day of the first test match between the West Indies and Sri Lanka in Georgetown, yesterday. AFP
South paw Malinda Warnapura, playing only in his third Test match for Sri Lanka, scored a brilliant hundred to see them taking the first step towards their maiden Test win on West Indian soil at the Providence, Stadium, Guyana today.
At tea Warnapura was unbeaten on 114 along with his senior partner Kumar Sangakkara who was not out on 23.
Sri Lanka elected to bat first after skipper Mahela Jayawardena had called that crucial toss right on a placid wicket that promised to get slower as the match progressed. However, the visitors’ new-look opening pair – Warnapura and Michael Vandort — batted themselves in initially and grew more adventurous as the game progressed.
Of the two openers, it was Warnapura who was the more aggressive. He continued his good nick from the warm-up match where he scored two undefeated knocks of 132 and 58 against the West Indies select Xl.
After he hit a streaky drive over the slip cordon off paceman Jerome Taylor in the opening overs, the young opener seemed to grow in confidence and saw Sri Lanka to 85 for no loss at lunch while taking his score to 53 -- his second half century in his Test career. In the mid-session after lunch Sri Lanka lost their first wicket when Taylor – by far the most impressive out of the West Indian bowlers -- trapped Vandort with a full-length ball that dipped into the six-footer soon after he had completed his half century. By then the Lankan openers had put on an opening stand of 130 runs.
Vandort’s departure saw Warnapura joining Sri Lanka’s vice captain Kumar Sangakkara at the crease. Sangakkara’s presence seemed to have infused more confidence in the youngster, but, at 95 had a reprieve when Dwanyne Bravo dropped him at slips off the bowling of West Indian captain Chris Gayle.
However, at the tea break he was not out on 114 after facing 214 balls with thirteen hits to the fence while Vandort’s half century contained eight fours.