Sri Lanka solid on rain-affected day in Galle
SUMMARY: Sri Lanka 113-1 (Nissanka 61*, Karunaratne 42, Chase 1-33) vs West Indies
Pathum Nissanka breezed his way to a half-century, Dimuth Karunaratne fell eight short of a fifty that would have seen him equal a world record, and on a day in which rain washed out the first two sessions, Sri Lanka gained a significant advantage, moving to 113-1 in the 33.4 overs that were possible.
Before Roston Chase caught-and-bowled Karunaratne late in the day, Sri Lanka’s openers had put on 106 runs in 31 overs – their second century stand in the series.
Kemar Roach, returning for this game after having been left out in favour of Shannon Gabriel, was perhaps the best of West Indies’ bowlers, delivering six overs and conceding just 12. Sri Lanka’s batters were largely untroubled by the others.
Nissanka was positive almost from the outset. He drilled a full Jason Holder ball down the ground for four to begin the second over, carved Roach past the slip cordon soon after, and although occasionally beaten by deliveries that jagged past his outside edge, was on a constant hunt for runs, moving to 20 off his first 30 balls.
Karunaratne was typically conservative by comparison – defending and leaving the majority of deliveries he faced from the seamers, making just 4 from his first 30 deliveries.
Eventually though, Holder and Roach wrapped up their spells, and batting seemed to get easier. Kyle Mayers was hit for three fours – twice through the leg side by Karunaratne – in his first two overs, the only two he bowled on the first day.
Nissanka attempted to dominate the left-arm spin of Veerasammy Permaul, who was playing his first Test since 2015, coming down the track in Permaul’s second over to launch him into the sightscreen.
Soon, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite had spinners bowling from both ends, and although they prompted the occasional mistake, the batters largely settled into a rhythm against them, with Nissanka scoring primarily through the off side, and Karunaratne favouring the leg side, as he often does. Nissanka got to fifty – his third in Tests, and second in the series – off the 74th ball he faced.
Karunaratne’s dismissal came against the run of play. Earlier in that Chase over, he had played a late cut and a flick through midwicket, both of which went for four.
But Chase found some rip off the last delivery of that over, and turned a ball more than the batter expected, which produced a return catch off the inside half of the bat as Karunaratne attempted to drive him down the ground.
If he had got to fifty, Karunaratne would have made seven Test half-centuries in as many innings, a feat only six batters had accomplished. In any case, his last seven scores read 42, 83, 147, 66, 118, 244 and 75.
Oshada Fernando survived ten balls before the players went off for bad light. Nissanka was 61 not out off 109 balls, his scoring rate having slowed as the light faded. (ESPNcricinfo)