Profligate Sri Lanka concede 229-run lead

West Indies

Tea Sri Lanka 185 (Chandimal 44, Cummins 3-39, Roach 2-34) trail West Indies 414 for 8 by 229 runs

As West Indies persisted, their bowlers delivering tight lines and testing lengths long after the morning’s swing had disappeared, Sri Lanka’s first innings crashed and burned after lunch. Not seen was any of the lower-order caution and resistance that had propelled West Indies to their formidable score. Instead, lackadaisical running, and rash cross-batted shots wrought their decline. Having been 125 for 5 at lunch, Sri Lanka were all out for 185, 17 minutes before tea was due to be taken. With his bowlers having delivered 55.4 overs in the heat, West Indies captain Jason Holder opted not to enforce the follow-on, though Sri Lanka were 229 runs short of the hosts first-innings total.

Miguel Cummins removed the Sri Lanka tail with a sustained short-ball barrage, but before that it was a bad running mistake that saw Sri Lanka’s last specialised batsman depart. Niroshan Dickwella, who had resisted intelligently for the first 77 balls of his innings, struck a ball towards mid-on and began to amble a single. There was miscommunication with non-striker Dilruwan Perera, but even after both batsmen had agreed to the run, Dickwella only jogged through to the other end. Suddenly, he discovered that Kraigg Brathwaite had run down this ball from midwicket, had turned, and thrown the ball at the stumps in one fluid motion. Dickwella reached for the crease, but was found almost thirty centimetres short by the direct hit. Were it not for his complacency, it should have been an easy single.

With Dickwella out for 31, West Indies quickly set about taking the Sri Lanka tail apart. The quicks bowled short at Rangana Herath, until eventually Herath could not resist the pull shot, and miscued a rib-height Cummins delivery to square leg. Dilruwan, who had generally been secure in defence, and had also hit the only six of the innings, off Devendra Bishoo, was soon out giving a bat-pad catch off the same bowler. Lahiru Kumara and Suranga Lakmal were also out top-edging Cummins short balls. All up, the last six Sri Lanka wickets had fallen for 64 runs. This is in comparison to the West Indies lower order, who had found the team at 147 for 5, then grown the total to 414 for 8.

The only real fight Sri Lanka showed in this innings was during Dickwella’s 68-run fifth-wicket stand with Dinesh Chandimal. The pair had seen out the last of the menacing movement that Kemar Roach had generated, and seemed to have settled into a nice rhythm through the course of the morning session. Chandimal, in particular, looked good for a long innings – his defence in good order, and his timing in good shape as well. But although he had batted conscientiously for the majority of the session, he became a little more adventurous in the approach to lunch, and lost his wicket, miscuing an aerial cut shot straight to the man at backward point. Upon reflection, he may feel that Shannon Gabriel ball was not wide enough for that stroke.

Earlier, in the third over of the day, Roach had removed Sri Lanka’s in-form batsman Roshen Silva, wriggling a full delivery into leg stump, as Silva failed to make contact with a legside flick.

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