| Lara says it was vital for him to get runs against Murali
Kingston: Sri Lanka go into the second and final cricket Test against the West Indies here Friday hoping to avoid further punishment from in-form Brian Lara.
Lara hammered 209 in the drawn first match in St Lucia Tuesday to become only the fifth batsman to score five or more double centuries in Tests. Australian Don Bradman, Englishman Walter Hammond, Pakistani Javed Miandad and Sri Lankan Maravan Atapattu are the others to have achieved the feat.
Sri Lanka suffered the most in recent years from Lara who has already compiled five hundreds against them in as many Tests, including two double centuries. Lanka captain Hashan Tillekeratne conceded his bowlers need to get Lara’s wicket cheaply in order to put pressure on the West Indies in the second Test.
“We have a lot of respect for Brian and he has been batting very well. He’s is brilliant batsman, but we’ll have to raise our bowling standards,” he said. Lara has been dominating the Sri Lankan attack since 1997 when he cracked 115 in the second Test at St Vincent. The gifted lefthander was in awesome form in the next Test series against the same opponents four years later, scoring 178, 221 and 130 in Sri Lanka to aggregate 688 in three matches.
Lara again returned to haunt the Sri Lankans, cracking his 21st Test hundred in the first Test of the current series.
Top off-spinner Muttiah Muralidharan looked the best Lankan bowler, but failed to keep pressure on the West Indian batting superstar for long spells despite grabbing five wickets.
“Murali and Vaas bowled well (in the first Test), but not our backup bowlers,” said Tillekeratne.
Lara said he was happy to score runs against Muralidharan, but other batsmen needed to put in an improved performance. “It was vital for me to get runs, especially against Murali.”
West Indies (from): Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Omari Banks, Corey Collymore, Mervyn Dillon, Vasbert Drakes, Fidel Edwards, Daren Ganga, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ridley Jacobs, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor.
Sri Lanka (from): Hashan Tillekeratne (capt), Maravan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralidharan, Thilan Samaraweera, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Kumar Dharmasena, Prabath Nissanka, Darshana Gamage, Dinusha Fernando, Thilan Thushara.