For a game that had lacked drama all this while, found it in plenty on Saturday (June 16) with the Sri Lankan players refusing to take the field for nearly two hours after being accused of altering the condition of the ball. As a result, five penalty runs were added to Windies’ overnight score of 118 for 2. Phone calls were made to the headquarters of ICC and SLC, players entered, left and re-entered the field. And when all the drama ended, a session which was set to begin early to make up for the lost overs on Day 2, managed to see only 13 overs bowled, in which the Windies moved to 154 for 3. If the disruption by rain wasn’t enough, the confusion by the visiting side made up for the crowd’s disappointment in Gros Islet.
To add to all the earlier drama, in the first over of the day, Niroshan Dickwella threw the ball at the stumps when Devon Smith had stepped out to tap the pitch. The throw by the ‘keeper, however, had come after the ball was dead. The appeal didn’t impress umpire Ian Gould, who warned Dickwella for his behaviour.
Lahiru Kumara and Suranga Lakmal continued to bowl with a lot of purpose and troubled the batsmen. With Devon Smith and Shai Hope in no hurry to get the scoring rate up, it was a sedate start to Day 3. It has been an approach the hosts have carried all through their innings against some tight bowling. Kumara, in specific, bowled some sharp bouncers early. It took 45 balls for the first boundary of the day when Hope cover drove an overpitched delivery by Akila Dananjaya. The right-hander warmed up in the middle, while Smith struggled to score.
Less than 15 minutes before the end of the session, Lakmal was rewarded for some fine bowling. He got the ball to shoot up and had Hope jumping, fending and edging the delivery to slips. Half-centurion Smith managed to add only seven runs to his overnight score in the first session. He went to Lunch unbeaten on 60, in company of Roston Chase.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 253 lead Windies 154/3 (Devon Smith 60*; Kasun Rajitha 1-25) by 99 runs.
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