Image courtesy of: Cricket West Indies
Sri Lanka’s hopes of levelling the series 1-1 on the final day in St Lucia were dashed by West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite’s unbeaten 59 and inclement weather.
Starting off the day on 334/8, Sri Lanka lost Suranga Lakmal on the fifth ball of the day as he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Shannon Gabriel for seven runs. Lakmal opted to review the decision, but it didn’t work in his favour.
Sri Lanka ended up being bowled out for 342, which set the West Indies 296 to win, when Akila Dananjaya was clean bowled by Gabriel for 23.
Gabriel, who secured his 100th Test wicket after removing Dananjaya, was the pick of the bowlers with a career-best eight wickets, while Kemar Roach chipped in with two.
Chasing 296 to win, the West Indies were dealt two quick blows early on as opener Devon Smith and batsman Kieran Powell were both dismissed by debutant Kasun Rajitha for one and two runs respectively.
Things went from bad to worse for the West Indies when Shai Hope was struck on the body and retired hurt on six runs.
Roston Chase failed to have an impact with the bat as he was cleaned up by Lakmal for 13 just prior to the lunch break.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich only scored eight runs before being caught by Dananjaya de Silva at first slip off the bowling of Dananjaya.
Hope returned after Dowrich’s dismissal and managed to put together a 53-run partnership with Brathwaite before he was clean bowled by Lakmal for 39.
Just a couple overs after Hope was sent packing, the rain came and play was suspended for over an hour.
However, even though the match resumed, only 15 balls were bowled before bad light halted the game.
Since the conditions didn’t get any better, the umpires decided to bring the match to an end, which left Brathwaite unbeaten on 59 off 172 balls, which included six boundaries.
Rajitha and Lakmal took two wickets apiece, while Dananjaya claimed one.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was pleased with his side’s improved performance, and said: “I’m really happy with the way we played through the five days. Weather permitting, there was a chance, but pleased overall. Credit to the West Indies bowling attack, they’ve got some good bowlers.
“It’s hard to score big runs under these conditions. We have to improve a little more. We went in with Akila Dananjaya this game, it was a tactical call. Rangana is a legend. I thought Akila bowled well. Credit also to Gabriel, his hard work has paid off.”
West Indies skipper Jason Holder was delighted to still hold on to a 1-0 lead going into the third and final Test, and said: “Happy, we played reasonable cricket, probably not at our best. We weren’t as consistent and disciplined as we should’ve been.
“They played well. All in all, a decent effort, I thought we were more clinical in Trinidad. Getting wickets off no-balls is a concern, something we need to pay attention to. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.”
Gabriel was named Man of the Match for taking a total of 13 wickets in the second Test, and said: “It’s a great feeling (100 wickets). If someone told me ‘Shannon, you’ll play Tests and take 100 wickets, I would’ve told him you’re crazy!” I’d like to thank family and friends for supporting me. I was prepared well for this series, getting myself fit.
“As long as you get wickets, pains and aches go away. I was supported well by Kemar, he was unlucky. Miguel Cummins kept coming at the batsmen. Holder was also very good. We can take plenty of positives from this Test.”