Barath boosts Windies with maiden ton

Colombo, Jan 31 (AFP) Young Adrian Barath geared up forthe World Cup with a maiden century as West Indies posted acompetitive 245-5 against Sri Lanka in the first one-dayinternational today.

The 20-year-old opener cracked two sixes and eight foursin a 129-ball 113 to bolster the innings after the touristslost two wickets, including that of hard-hitting Chris Gayle,for 42 runs in Colombo.

Barath steadied the innings with a 165-run stand for thethird wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan, who hit an impressive 75for his 34th half-century in one-day internationals.

The West Indies were set for a final onslaught afterreaching 206-2 in 43 overs, but paceman Lasith Malinga (3-51)restricted the tourists with three quick wickets, includingthose of Sarwan and Barath in the same over.

The World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka andBangladesh, starts on February 19.

The West Indies made a poor start after winning the tossas Gayle (four) was caught behind off paceman Nuwan Kulasekarain the day''s fourth over. Darren Bravo also did not last long,making eight before being run out.

Barath, playing only his sixth one-dayer, went for bigshots after completing his half-century as he swung part-timespinner Tillakaratne Dilshan and seamer Angelo Mathews overmid-wicket for sixes.

The opener reached his hundred in style, drivingunorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis for his seventh four.

Sri Lanka then had to wait for than 30 overs to getanother wicket as Barath and Sarwan batted sensibly.

Malinga broke the stand when he had Sarwan caught byChamara Kapugedera at long-on after the batsman had hit onesix and four boundaries in his 100-ball knock. The samecombination accounted for Barath a ball later. (AFP) PM

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