West Indies avoid follow-on on rain-affected day three in Galle

SUMMARY: West Indies 224-9 (Mayers 45, Brathwaite 41, Jayawickrama 3-38, Ramesh 3-75) trail Sri Lanka 386 (Karunaratne 147, Chase 5-83, Warrican 3-87) by 162 runs

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Rain washed out the final session and pretty much the entirety of the second session – only four overs were completed after lunch before the groundstaff was called into action – as West Indies ended the third day on 224-9, still 162 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total.

Play will begin 15 minutes earlier on the fourth and fifth days, provided the rain stays away.

In the end, the rain proved a welcome reprieve for the visitors on a day that had otherwise begun rather promisingly, with Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers taking the attack to the home side. It ended, however, with Rahkeem Cornwall being dismissed off what turned out to be the final ball of the day.

For Sri Lanka, Praveen Jayawickrama added to his wicket tally from the previous day to finish the day with figures of 3 for 38, while Dhananjaya de Silva and Suranga Lakmal also got in on the act.

Kyle Mayers made 45 (Photo: ESPNcricinfo)

And despite Ramesh Mendis, the pick of Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the second day, being unable to reproduce the same control he had shown the previous evening – his 11 overs on the third day went for 52 runs with no wickets to show for it – Sri Lanka nevertheless remained in firm control of the Test.

But for the first hour or so in the morning, West Indies had looked rather threatening.

Both Mayers and Holder showed they were unafraid to use the depth of the crease against the spinners, while Holder in particular used his extra reach to consistently get to the pitch of the ball and smother the considerable spin on offer – two delicious drives through cover for boundaries were the pick of his shots.

Mayer, meanwhile, was content to rock back whenever possible, thrice flaying deliveries short and wide past point for four.

In between, the pair rotated the strike with ease, as Sri Lanka’s spinners gradually lost their early confidence in flighting the ball and resorted to flatter trajectories. The breakthrough eventually came courtesy some outstanding catching – first from captain Dimuth Karunaratne and then Dushmantha Chameera.

Rahkeem Cornwall scored 37 (Photo: ESPNcricinfo)

The first to go was Mayers, who failed to get to the pitch of one from de Silva that held up a touch and bounced up off a length. Mayers, who was already through an attempted drive, could only pop it up in the direction of short extra cover, where Karunaratne threw himself full pelt to his weaker right side to complete the take.

Chameera followed suit a little later, diving forward – again at full stretch – from point, to hold on to a cut that Holder had failed to keep down. Once more it was the extra bounce off a length that proved to be decisive.

Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva then proceeded to put on 49 for the ninth wicket, but just as that partnership was beginning to look promising, Cornwall top-edged a pull off Lakmal to square leg on the last ball of the 80th over. The second new ball was available but rain ensured there would be no more action. (ESPNcricinfo)

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