TEST: Gabriel, Roach give West Indies honours on another rain-hit day
SUMMARY: Sri Lanka 99-5 (Dickwella 13*, Roshen 3*, Roach 2-13, Gabriel 2-42) trail West Indies 204 (Holder 74, Dowrich 71, Kumara 4-58, Rajitha 3-68) by 105 runs
West Indies didn’t bat as well as they would have liked, but entertained the possibility of a first-innings lead at the end of a truncated second day in Bridgetown.
Only 59 overs were possible in all, 23 of which saw West Indies move from their overnight 132-5 to 204 all out. Jason Holder made a bulk of those runs with 74, the highest of the innings. Then Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Holder struck to dent Sri Lanka’s push to parity under lights, leaving the visiting side 99-5 at stumps, still behind by 105.
Sri Lanka’s inexperienced top order, minus their suspended captain Dinesh Chandimal, failed to apply themselves for long periods. The dismissal of No. 4 Kusal Mendis after doing all the hard work exemplified their problems.
Mendis, averaging 59.50 in the series before this Test, blocked steadfastly for 58 deliveries until he ran out of patience in trying an uncharacteristic across-the-line slog to Gabriel’s first ball of a new spell, only to see his off stump flattened.
This broke a 59-run stand with comeback man Danushka Gunathilaka which had marked a recovery of sorts after Sri Lanka lost both openers to Roach inside seven overs.
Kusal Perera fell for a nine-ball duck, Roach using his angle from around the wicket induce the under-edge through to the wicketkeeper. Mahela Udawatte, playing only his second Test upon his international return after a long layoff, fell to Roach’s express pace four overs later.
He was trapped lbw after failing to commit himself fully forward to a pitched up delivery that nipped back in, leaving Sri Lanka 16-2.
Mendis and Gunathilaka resisted for a while, enjoying a slice of luck along the way when Gunathilaka chipped Miguel Cummins to cover, only to hear the third umpire rule against the bowler because he had overstepped. The error, however, didn’t cost West Indies much as Gunathilaka fell two overs into the final session – lbw on review to Holder.
There was more success in store for West Indies when Gabriel had a decision reversed, as Dhananjaya de Silva was out for eight. The nip of the Kensington Oval surface took the batsman by surprise as he pushed outside the line, only for the ball to thud into the back leg. At stumps, Sri Lanka’s last recognised pair of Roshen de Silva (3*) and Niroshan Dickwella (13*) were holding fort.
Earlier in the day, Shane Dowrich, who resumed on 60, became the highest scoring wicketkeeper in a day-night Test when he went past Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed’s 68 in Dubai. But he perished soon after for 71, lbw trying to flick one behind square.
Holder, however, stuck around, opening up to play some delightful strokes with wickets tumbling at the other end. The fiery Lahiru Kumara, who picked up three of the last four wickets to fall, eventually finished with his third successive four-for of the series. (ESPNCricinfo)