A session that promised much, was cut short by two rain interruptions. Only 16 overs of play was possible as early Tea was taken in Gros Islet on Sunday (June 17), as Sri Lanka moved to 194 for 5 at the break, leading by 147.
Barring the fall of skipper Dinesh Chandimal, there wasn’t much standing out during the post-lunch session. Play began 10 minutes late as rain during the lunch break had left the outfield wet. However, once the players – Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal – resumed their innings, it was filled with a lot more intent to score. Both the batsmen took their chances and quickly brought up the century stand for the fifth wicket.
Chandimal, who had a scratchy stay in the middle, was eventually dismissed in the 48th over when he looked to slash a Kemar Roach delivery outside off. He got a faint edge to the ‘keeper, but Ian Gould, the on-field umpire, didn’t think so. A game that has gone below par for the English umpire just turned worse as the review taken by the hosts forced him to reverse his decision, bringing an end to the 117-run partnership.
Even as Chandimal didn’t play the most convincing of knocks, and far unlike his efforts in the first innings, it helped Sri Lanka come out of a precarious situation. The visitors had lost three wickets in the first 45 minutes of play. While nightwatchman Kasun Rajitha was trapped legbefore by Shannon Gabriel, Dhananjaya de Silva and Mahela Udawetta threw their wickets away, and left the side reeling at 48 for 4 – leading by only 1 run.
Chandimal revived the Sri Lankan innings in company of Kusal Mendis, who has looked the most impressive batsman so far for the visitors. He, like Chandimal, had his share of luck when he was caught behind off a no-ball by Jason Holder. Nonetheless, he took advantage of the reprieve and played an attacking innings. He was especially severe against spinners Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase en route his sixth Test fifty.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 253 & 194/5 (Kusal Mendis 85*; Shannon Gabriel 3-22) lead Windies 300 by 147 runs.
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