Kraigg Brathwaite, who is nothing more than a part-time off-spinner, came up with brilliant figures of 6 for 29 to leave West Indies with an outside chance of winning the second Test, and squaring the series. Sri Lanka found it tough on a pitch spinning square, but thanks to 40s from Milinda Siriwardana and Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka managed to cross the 200 marks. Chasing 244, West Indies however lost Brathwaite early, struggling to 3 from 26 when he dismissed. Rain finished the day’s play with the final session washed out; West Indies still needing 224 to win.
The pitch is only expected to get much tougher to bat, especially against spin on day four. And, with the trio of Rangana Herath, Siriwanda and Dilruwan Perera in form, Sri Lanka should believe they are favourites. Thus is specifically why West Indies would have liked all their wickets in hand at the end of day’s play. But, it wasn’t to be. Brathwaite struggled again, as was trapped lbw by a Dhammika Prasad incomer. He had earlier survived a close lbw and caught behind appeal. Shai Hope also had a huge lbw appeal against him, but although it was reviewed, Hope survived.
Earlier, Sri Lanka were aided greatly by a 67-run stand between Siriwanda and Mathews. The unbeaten overnight opener, Kaushal Silva, made 32 in 105 balls, but he found it so tough out in the middle that he could not hit even a single four. In contrast, Siriwanda was aggressive. He took on Jomel Warrican, and slammed him for a four and a six on the on-side. He also smashed Devendra Bishoo straight down the ground for another six as Sri Lanka added some precious runs. He was eventually dismissed by Brathwaite for 42 from 60.
Skipper Mathews was a lot more careful. He placed the ball into the gaps, picking up ones and twos. At the other end, Brathwaite kept sending back one player after the other. After sending back Siriwanda, Brathwaite got Kusal Perera caught behind for five. Herath came out all guns firing, and made a crucial 18 from 26 with three fours. Having dismissed Herath, Brathwaite then ran through the tail, as Lanka last their last four wickets for just 11 runs. Mathews was ninth man out for 46. He had played out 120 balls when he was dismissed by Brathwaite.
Earlier in the day, West Indies began well with the ball. Having hung around, he eventually fell to Warrican, giving a simple catch to Blackwood at slip. Jerome Taylor then sent back Dinesh Chandimal with one that came in, Denesh Ramdin taking a leaping catch. Siriwanda and Mathews then rebuilt the innings before Brathwaite took over and cleaned up Lanka.
--By A Cricket Correspondent