Warnapura cements Test spot with half-century

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

PROVIDENCE, Guyana, March 19, 2008 (AFP) – Malinda Warnapura became the favourite to open the batting in the first Test starting on the weekend when he retired out on 50 in Sri Lanka’s second innings against the Guyana Cricket Board President’s XI on Wednesday.

Warnapura made 132 in the Sri Lanka first innings and he retired out for the second time in the match, as Sri Lanka, leading by 244 on first innings, reached 177 for six before the three-day (non-first class) tour match at the Guyana National Stadium was called off at tea on the third and final day.

With Sri Lanka shopping around for an opener to replace Sanath Jayasuriya and to partner Michael Vandort at the top of the order, Warnapura has grabbed the opportunity in this warm-up match to advertise his fitness for the position.

Warnapura struck seven boundaries from 93 balls in just over two hours at the crease an propped up the wobbly Sri Lanka batting a second time around.

Chaminda Vaas hit an unbeaten 40 and Prasanna Jayawardene scored 36 to support Warnapura and save the visitors some blushes after the dipped to 83 for three just after lunch.

Davendra Bishoo was the most successful of the home team’s bowler with three wickets for 25 runs 13 overs.

The first Test between