Vaas, Jayawardene star as Sri Lanka declares at 476

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

PROVIDENCE, Guyana, March 23, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka collected the prized scalp of Chris Gayle to strengthen their hold on the opening Test against West Indies on Sunday after their captain Mahela Jayawardene posted his 22nd Test hundred. Left-arm fast-medium bowler Chaminda Vaas inflicted an early blow to the West Indies’ batting, when he removed Gayle for the seventh time in Tests, as the home team reached 29 for one when stumps were drawn on the second day at the Guyana National Stadium.

In stark contrast, the fortunes were much richer for Jayawardene. He rode his luck to hit the top score of 136, and so too Vaas, to help the visitors reach 476 for eight declared in their first innings.

With a little over an hour remaining before the close, Sri Lanka could hardly believe their fortune, when Gayle was adjudged lbw to Vaas for a duck – his fifth against this opponent – playing half forward to a well-pitched delivery.

The Sri Lankans however, failed to make further headway when Ramnaresh Sarwan, playing his first Test in nine months, joined Devon Smith.

Vaas felt the weight of Sarwan’s bat when the batsman played a silky drive through mid-off for his first boundary, and Rangana Herath also saw him execute a searing extr