Seven wickets away from win, 90 overs to bowl on the last day with a massive lead of 277 runs, West Indies coach Stuart Law wants “one more big effort” from his bowlers on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in Port-of-Spain in the three-match series. Setting Sri Lanka a target of 453 after declaring for the second time in the Test, West Indies dismissed Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva even though opener Kusal Mendis’ unbeaten 94 kept the visitors fighting.
“You know 453 to win is a huge target, 400 is not something that gets chased down too often in Test cricket, there’s always something happening,” Law said. “[From] our bowlers, we’ve had a big effort so far, they bowled them out for 180 in the first innings in 40-odd overs, we just need one more big effort tomorrow – 90 overs to get seven wickets and keep them under 250.”
Apart from Mendis, West Indies will also have to plan to dismiss No. 3 Dinesh Chandimal, who retired hurt in the second session of the fourth day due to symptoms of heat stroke. He faced only 23 deliveries for his 15 runs and is expected to return to bat on the last day in Sri Lanka’s steep task to save or win the match. Law said the bowlers’ plan would be to hit the right lengths and target the stumps on the final day, taking some assistance from the variable bounce.
“We don’t talk a great deal, we just stick to what we know best,” he said. “We know that we’ve got to find the length that’s hard to score of, we attack the stumps with good field settings, make it hard for them to score and one of those that either roll on the ground or bounce should come into play. We won’t talk about it too much tonight, we come back in the morning and reassess. We formulate our plans and then get out there and try and do it.”
Law also praised the batting effort of his team, mainly led by Shane Dowrich’s unbeaten 125 in the first innings and Kieran Powell’s 88 in the second, as no other batsman crossed 45. Law was aware that the frontline batsmen hadn’t done as well as he would have liked.
“We batted really well in this Test match, our top five didn’t score great runs but they all got starts in the first innings. Shane Dowrich converted that and Kieron Powell batted beautifully in the second innings, didn’t quite get on to that hundred but useful contributions down the order.
“It’s been hot, that’s for sure. I think the wicket’s been good too, in the first innings it was difficult to bat on, our boys applied themselves really well and to bowl Sri Lanka out for 180 was a testament to it. The wicket was difficult, it’s flattened out, it’s got better and better so it’s been a good cricket wicket so far, we just need it to deteriorate a bit. There’s a little bit of spin, little bit of variable bounce and we need to exploit that tomorrow to push on for victory.”