In parts impressive; in parts not – looking at 157 for 5 at Tea, Windies would have to question themselves whether they are satisfied with what the scoreboard at the Gros Islet Stadium is displaying; whether they have taken adequate advantage of the situation? What’s not there to question, however, is the exceptional patience and application shown by Dinesh Chandimal, en route his 17th Test fifty, in challenging batting conditions in the second Test.
Resuming the second session at 79 for 3, Kusal Perera and Chandimal helped the visitors off to some quick runs. Erratic bowling and sloppy fielding aided their efforts as they first took Sri Lanka past the 100-run mark and then to their half-century stand.
However, as has been the case all along on Thursday, the sharp bounce has not only caused problems but also resulted in wickets. First to fall was Kusal Perera, who attempted to flick a Jason Holder delivery off his hips only to have it lobbed to the leg slip region where ‘keeper Shane Dowrich ran to pouch an easy catch, to end the 67-run alliance.
Roshen Silva too couldn’t survive for long as Shannon Gabriel had his third wicket of the innings by angling a delivery into the batsman, who left his bat hanging outside off and got an edge to the ‘keeper. From 126 for 3, Sri Lanka were reduced to 148 for 5 – again, losing key initiative in the game.
The pitch has offered enough spite for the pacers, but barring Gabriel and Kemar Roach none of the bowlers have made ample use of the conditions. Niroshan Dickwella and Chandimal survived a testing spell late in the session to help the visitors to Tea without any further damage.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. They came in with four changes. Apart from the injured Lahiru Gamage and Angelo Mathews, even Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera were left out.
Using the bounce and pace, Gabriel struck twice early. Debutant Mahela Udawatte fell for a second-ball duck – adding to his duck on ODI debut. Dhanajaya de Silva, like all the other batsmen, was undone by the sharp bounce and got the ball to inside edge on to the stumps while looking to fend.
Kusal Perera, who got off to a characteristically slow start, accelerated after the first 45 minutes of play, and even stroked Holder for three consecutive boundaries. The southpaw’s innings which promised much when Roach, returning for his second ball, struck off the first ball with an angled-in delivery from around the wicket.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 157/5 (Dinesh Chandimal 53, Kusal Mendis 45; Shannon Gabriel 3-44) vs Windies
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