Holder four-for leaves Test evenly poised on 20-wicket day

West Indies


Sri Lanka 154 and 81 for 5 (Mendis 25*, Dilruwan 1*, Holder 4-21) need 63 more to beat West Indies 204 and 93 (Roach 23*, Rajitha 3-20, Lakmal 3-25)

An inspired Jason Holder breathed fire to remove four Sri Lankan wickets late in the day as West Indies kept their series-win hopes alive on a 20-wicket day in Bridgetown. These are the most wickets to have fallen in a single day of Test cricket in the Caribbean, surpassing the 18 that fell when England last toured here in 2015.

Holder’s figures at stumps on the third day read 8-3-21-4 as Sri Lanka stumbled to 81 for 5 chasing 144 for a series-levelling victory in the third Test. The visitors could effectively be six down, with Kusal Perera in hospital for scans following a nasty injury while fielding earlier in the day. An official word on his availability is awaited.

West Indies grabbed a 50-run lead, that could have been much more if not for a shoddy drop down leg by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich in the day’s first over, with Sri Lanka yet to add to their overnight 99 for 5. On 13 then, Dickwella went on to top score with 42 in Sri Lanka’s 154 all out. Holder picked up three of the four wickets to fall, finishing with 4 for 19 off 16 overs.

The game then galloped forward when Sri Lanka took just 31.2 overs to skittle West Indies for 93, the least overs they’ve taken to bowl out a Test side outside Asia. Kemar Roach‘s adventurous 23 not out was the highest in a disastrous batting performance, with each of the top five recording single-digit scores. Suranga Lakmal, the captain, and Lahiru Kumara picked up three wickets apiece, Kumara easily the most impressive of the lot, troubling batsmen with genuine pace that was married with tremendous accuracy.

Then under lights, Holder, Roach and Shannon Gabriel got the ball to hoop around, the batsmen put through a searching examination. Sri Lanka’s hopes now hinge on Kusal Mendis, unbeaten on 25. He has allrounder Dilruwan Perera and the lower order for company.

Danushka Gunathilaka and Mahela Udawatte opened the innings in Kusal’s absence, but were dismissed cheaply to expose a fragile middle order without Dinesh Chandimal, sitting because of a suspension. Udawatte’s horror international return after a 10-year gap continued when he was beaten for pace by a sharp inswinger from Roach to be lbw – his second duck and third single-digit score in four innings on tour. Gunathilaka, meanwhile, top-edged a pull to a back-pedalling Devendra Bishoo at mid-on to a steep Holder delivery.

Dhananjaya de Silva was then put to severe test by an inspired Holder, who eventually had his wicket when the batsman shouldered arms to a ball coming inwards and saw his off stump flattened. So fired up was Holder that West Indies wasted a review to a caught behind appeal off Roshen Silva, but he wouldn’t last long, nicking to second slip in the same over to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at 50 for 4. That could’ve been 59 for 5 had Shai Hope, keeping in place of the injured Shane Dowrich, held on to a one-handed chance offered by Kusal Mendis off Holder.

West Indies’ hopes of building on a big lead suffered early setbacks when they were 13 for 3 at the end of the first session where eight wickets fell. Kraigg Brathwaite was snaffled at short leg by a rising Lakmal delivery, while Devon Smith and Hope were beaten on the inside edge by sharp inswingers. Dowrich and Holder briefly resisted to add 27, the highest partnership of West Indies’ second innings, before the innings unraveled. Roach’s cameo took the lead past 100 and beyond, and gave them a respectable pink-ball target to bowl at.



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