Battling Windies close in on Sri Lanka total

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, April 4, 2008 (AFP) – West Indies, replying to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 278, reached 268 for seven when bad light stopped play on the second day of the second Test on Friday.

Sri Lanka’s bowlers exploited the lively Queen’s Park Oval pitch and heavy conditions to keep scoring at a premium, but several West Indians got starts.

Vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan led the way with 57, left-handed opener Sewnarine Chattergoon scored 46, Devon Smith laboured for 47, captain Chris Gayle made 45, and Dwayne Bravo got 26.

Off-spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan captured three wickets for 64 runs off 23 overs and Thilan Thushara took two for 72 from 12 overs.

Gaining bounce and movement from the pitch, the Sri Lanka bowlers worked over the top-order batsmen of the West Indies.

In the 40 minutes available to them before lunch, much of the attraction was the long-running battle between Sri Lanka new-ball bowler Chaminda Vaas and Gayle.

Vaas has claimed Gayle’s wicket seven times in his previous 10 Test innings against the Sri Lankans, but the big left-handed opener chose to open the innings rather than bat down the order as he did in the opening Test.

Vaas del