West Indies strike to leave Sri Lanka struggling in final Test

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NORTH SOUND: Sri Lanka lost their two overnight batsmen in a rain-interrupted session as the West Indies restricted the tourists to 189 for five in reply to their first innings total of 354 at lunch on the third day of the second and final Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Shannon Gabriel finally claimed his first wicket of the series, the fast bowler generating sustained, disconcerting pace to account for Dinesh Chandimal while Dhananjaya de Silva fell to the occasional off-spin of Jermaine Blackwood.

Pathum Nissanka, who marked his debut in the first Test a week earlier at the same venue with an excellent second innings hundred, and wicket-keeper/batsman Niroshan Dickwella will continue in the afternoon session, weather permitting.

Chandimal and Dhananjaya were immediately challenged by the consistent hostility of Gabriel, who looked completely out of sorts in the first Test but, for the first time in this brief series, was firing on all cylinders.

Chandimal was lucky to escape when a diving Rahkeem Cornwall could not hold on to catch at first slip but the former captain’s luck ran out when, unsettled by a blow on the hand earlier in the over, he could not control a hook shot to a lifting delivery on the body and substitute fielder Hayden Walsh Jr completed the comfortable catch at deep square-leg to remove Chandimal for 44.

His fifth-wicket partnership with de Silva was worth 75 runs.

With the lunch interval beckoning West Indies had even greater cause for celebration when de Silva was adjudged leg-before for 39 to the first delivery of the morning bowled by Blackwood.

Although the batsman trudged off the field dejectedly, television replays of the dismissal confirmed that the decision would have been overturned had he opted for a DRS referral.

Late on Tuesday, the visitors rallied behind Lahiru Thirimanne’s third consecutive half-century to reach 136-3 at stumps. After scores of 70 and 76 in the drawn first Test, Thirimanne’s run of good scores — going back to the series in South Africa last December — continued with another composed innings of 55.

The left-handed opener fell to Kemar Roach in the day’s final session after captain Dimuth Karunaratne survived 16 balls before an edged drive off fast bowler Alzarri Joseph produced a stunning diving catch at third slip by Nkrumah Bonner to send the left-hander back to the pavilion for just one when Sri Lanka started their reply immediately after lunch.

As in the first Test a week earlier at the same venue, occasional seamer Kyle Mayers accounted for Oshada Fernando and when Roach bowled Thirimanne through the gate, the innings was at a crossroads at 77 for three.

Scoreboard

WEST INDIES (1st Innings) 354 (K.C. Brathwaite 126, R.R.S. Cornwall 73, K.R. Mayers 49; R.A.S. Lakmal 4-94, P.V.D. Chameera 3-69).

SRI LANKA (1st Innings, overnight 136-3):

F.D.M. Karunaratne c Bonner b Joseph 1

H.D.R.L. Thirimanne b Roach 55

B.O.P. Fernando lbw b Mayers 18

L.D. Chandimal c sub b Gabriel 44

D.M. de Silva lbw b Blackwood 39

P. Nissanka not out 14

N. Dickwella not out 9

Extras (lb-2, w-1, nb-6) 9

Total (for five wkts, 82.2. overs) 189

FALL OF WKTS: 1-18, 2-64, 3-77, 4-152, 5-177.

TO BAT: R.A.S. Lakmal, L. Embuldeniya, M.V.T. Fernando, P.V.D. Chameera.

BOWLING (to-date): Roach 16-4-54-1 (4nb); Gabriel 14-3-33-1; Joseph 12-2-35-1 (1w); Holder 12-2-20-0 (2nb); Mayers 11-7-10-1; Cornwall 14.2-5-25-0; Blackwood 3-0-10-1.