Brathwaite helps pile early pressure on SL in first Test

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NORTH SOUND: Kraigg Brathwaite brought off a sharp run out to complement the work of his bowlers as they reduced Sri Lanka to 54 for three at lunch on Sunday, the opening day of the first Test of the two-match series.

After opting to bowl first after winning the toss at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua, new West Indies captain Brathwaite introduced the spin of Rahkeem Cornwall after just seven overs and gained immediate returns.

Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne, badly missed by Jermaine Blackwood at backward-point off pacer Kemar Roach in the previous over, fell to the off-spinner for 12 after a smart catch by John Campbell at forward short-leg.

Brathwaite’s speed and accuracy then accounted for Oshada Fernando. Lahiru Thirimanne nudged the ball into the off side and the batsmen set off for a sharp single but Oshada was well short when the new West Indies skipper, running in from cover, hit the stumps at the striker’s end.

Thirimanne and former captain Dinesh Chandimal were within minutes of surviving to the interval when Jason Holder, who has lost the Test captaincy to his fellow-Barbadian, induced an edge from Chandimal for wicket-keeper Joshua da Silva to snare a regulation catch.

Thirimanne will resume in the afternoon session on 30.

Despite closing off the three-match One-day International series a week earlier with a match-winning century, Darren Bravo — one of 12 players who opted out of the Bangladesh tour due to Covid 19 concerns — was omitted from the West Indies final eleven before the start of play together with left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, who featured in the wins in Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka have endured a miserable Caribbean campaign so far, losing the Twenty20 International series 2-1 and then being swept 3-0 in the ODIs.

However one of their few encouraging performers, middle-order batsman Pathum Nissanka, has been given a Test debut. Like the West Indies, they have named three pacers in their line-up on a pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium expected to offer assistance to the faster bowlers.

Scoreboard

SRI LANKA (1st Innings):

F.D.M. Karunaratne c Campbell b Cornwall 12

H.D.R.L. Thirimanne not out 30

B.O.P. Fernando run out 4

L.D. Chandimal c da Silva b Holder 4

EXTRAS (LB-3, W-1) 4

TOTAL (for three wkts, 26.1 overs) 54

FALL OF WKTS: 1-17, 2-29, 3-54.

TO BAT: D.M. de Silva, P. Nissanka, N. Dickwella, R.A.S. Lakmal, L. Embuldeniya, M.V.T. Fernando. P.V.D. Chameera.

BOWLING (to-date): Roach 7-1-18-0; Gabriel 4-1-7-0 (1w); Cornwall 7-5-7-1; Joseph 5-1-17-0; Holder 3.1-1-2-1.

WEST INDIES: K.C. Brathwaite, J.D. Campbell, N. Bonner, K.R. Mayers, J. Blackwood, J. da Silva, J.O. Holder, A.S. Joseph, R.R.S. Cornwall, K.A.J. Roach, S.T. Gabriel.

UMPIRES: J.S. Wilson (West Indies) and G.O. Brathwaite (West Indies).

TV UMPIRE: N. Duguid (West Indies).

MATCH REFEREE: R.B. Richardson (West Indies).