Chasing 377 to win, Sri Lanka settled for a handsome draw reaching 193 for 2 wickets with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne striking a timely 75 and Oshada Fernando 66 on a batting friendly Antigua surface on the fifth and final day. With both test matches drawn, Sri Lanka kept its No.7 ICC Test ranking intact and one ahead of the West Indies who are placed eighth.
The Sri Lankans got off to a fine 101-run start for the first wicket with Karunaratne shrugging off poor scores in the last three outings to coming good in a decisive scenario in a 175-ball innings consuming 244 minutes laced with 9 hits to the ropes. He was well supported by Lahiru Thirimanne who made 39 off 114 deliveries hitting 5 boundaries in a triumphant return to top form fine edged by three half centuries in his previous innings in the series. Thirimanne’s wicket was claimed by Joseph who had him caught by Cornwall.
THIRIMANNE GREAT COMEBACK
On the top of a match winning half century against New Zealand at Galle chasing 267 in 2019, and a century against England at home in January this year, Thirimanne’s overall performance against the West Indies marked a great comeback from the wilderness in what was a decisive make or break challenge for the 32-year old left hander .
Karunaratne went on to add a further 45 runs for the second wicket off 17.2 overs with Oshada Fernando who made 66 off 119 balls inclusive of 8 boundaries before the Lankan captain fell leg before wicket to Kyle Mayers. The advent of Dinesh Chandimal saw the third wicket pair play out the last 23.1 overs with ease with Chandimal sedately sparring off 66 deliveries for 10 with just the solitary boundary.
OSHADA FERNANDO FINE JOB AT NO.3
For the 28-year old right handed Fernando, it was a decisive turnaround in his career following his 91 in the first test to cementing permanency and in the pivotal No.3 slot from a stop start career of 9 Tests and 575 runs from 17 innings heightened by a century and three half centuries averaging 41.07..
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/
And 193/2 (79 Overs) RR: 2.44
(Dimuth Karunaratne 75, Oshada Fernando n.o. 66, Lahiru Thirimanne 39, Dinesh Chandimal n.o. 10)