Wickets hamper Sri Lanka fightback

Having been under the pump against some hostile West Indian pace bowling in the dying moments of Day 2 of the first Test in Port of Spain, Sri Lanka managed to hold their own for most parts of the first session on Day 3 on Friday (June 8) with Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella helping the visitors fight back. However, Windies managed to consolidate their position of strength with a wicket at the start of the day and one towards the end of the session – which ended a 78-run partnership – to leave Sri Lanka at 125 for 5, still 289 adrift of the home team’s total.

The day didn’t begin on a good note for Sri Lanka as they lost their fourth wicket as early as the third over when Roshen Silva was beaten for pace by a Kemar Roach delivery. After that it was all about resistance as Chandimal and Dickwella pulled a leaf out of Shane Dowrich’s book to keep the West Indian bowlers at bay. Playing close to the body and shouldering arms to plenty of deliveries, the batsmen were focussed on defensive play.

There was some movement for the pacemen who also generated good bounce but the batsmen showed enough application to handle the challenges thrown at them. But they also willing to play the shots to anything that they felt was in their zone. Both Chandimal and Dickwella focussed on playing straight and using the pace of the bowlers while not trying anything lavish as far as their stroke-play was concerned.

As was the case in the first innings, batting became easier with the ball becoming old, with hardly any help from the wicket apart from a few green patches that offered extra bounce. The batsmen, though, were adept enough to handle the short ones while they also ensured strike rotation. The boundaries came at a regular frequency towards the end of the session, with both Chandimal and Dickwella targeting Roach and looked set to see Sri Lanka through to Lunch without any damage.

However, the re-introduction of Shannon Gabriel for the final over of the session gave Windies what they were looking for. It was a wicket against the run of play as Chandimal, looking to cut a back-of-length delivery outside off, failed to clear Roston Chase at point to depart for 44. With 94 runs in the session in 26 overs at more than three and a half an over, it was good going for Sri Lanka but the wicket of the captain just before Lunch has skewed what appeared to be a balanced session.

Brief scores: Windies 414/8 decl. lead Sri Lanka 125/5 (Dinesh Chandimal 44, Niroshan Dickwella 25*; Shannon Gabriel 2-34, Kemar Roach 2-34) by 289 runs.

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