Chasing 377 to win, Sri Lanka were 29 for no loss as Lahiru Thirimanne (17, 29b, 3×4) and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne 11, 20b, 1×4) saw off 9 overs after the West Indies declared the second innings on 280 for 4 having taken a first innings lead of 97, at close of play on the fourth day of the first test match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound Antigua.
The onus will be on the Lankan batsmen facing such a daunting target with the pressure cooker advantage very much West Indies way to go flat out for a win on the fifth and final day on very dry tricky surface suggestive of spin. The Lankan batsmen will of course be hoping the pitch behaves batsmen friendly as on the fourth day.
The hosts maximised on the first innings lead with following Sri Lanka’s poor first innings score of 258 with the last two wickets falling in just 3.5 overs from an overnight 250 for 8, but not before Pathum Nissanka had added 2 to his overnight 49 to complete a half century in his second Test appearance in the wake of his debut test century in the first test. Kemar Roach claimed both wickets.
West Indian skipper Kraigg Brathwaite continued to be a scourge to the Lankan bowlers striking 85 (196b, 4×4) in holding the forte after having lost John Campbell for 10 caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella off Suranga Lakmal with the total 14 and Jermaine Blackwood for 18 giving Dickwella his second caught behind off FDushmantha Chameera with the total 58 for 2. He put on 82 for the third wicket with Kyle Mayers who made 55 (76b, 8×4) and 87 for the fourth wicket with Jason Holder who made an unbeaten 71 (88b, 7×4). Brathwaite was fourth out with the score 227 before Joshua Da Silva 20 (16b, 2×4) joined Holder in an unfinished 53-run fifth wicket partnership when the declaration was made.
WEST INDIES 354 (111.1 Overs) RR: 3.18
(Kraigg Brathwaite 126, Rahkeem Cornwall 73, Kyle Mayers 49, Jason Holder 30, Alzarri Joseph 29, Suranga Lakmal 4/94, Dushmantha Chameera 3/69))
And 280/4 decl. (72.4 Overs) RR: 3.85
(Kraigg Brathwaite 85, Jason Holder n.o. 71, Joshua Da Silva n.o. 20,
SRI LANKA 258 (107 Overs) RR: 2.41
(Lahiru Thirimanne 55, Pathum Nissanka 51, Dinesh Chandimal 44, Dhananjaya de Silva 39, Niroshan Dickwella 20, Oshada Fernando 18, Kemar Roach 3/58, JasonHolder 2/39, Alzarri Joseph 2/64)
And 29/0 (9 Overs) RR: 3.22
(Lahiru Thirimanne n.o. 17, Dimuth Karunaratne n.o. 11)
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-