RADIANCE: Sri Lanka 72 for no loss
Sri Lanka were 72 years old to no loss in their second set shortly before lunch on the fifth and final day of the second test against the West Indies at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua yesterday.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (39) and Lahiru Thirimanne (31) were up to the task and are chasing a goal of 377 runs to win the Test and the series.
North Sound, Thursday: In an almost exact role reversal of the first test, Sri Lanka will enter the final day of the second and final test after setting an ambitious goal of 377 after the West Indies declared their second round at 280 for four on the fourth day Thursday.
A week earlier, the Caribbean side had beaten on the final day at the same place to secure a draw after being set at 375 to win.
Now it will be the visitors who will head to the final morning at 29 without a loss after opening pair Lahiru Thirimanne and captain Dimuth Karunaratne sailed nine overs to the close.
For the second time in four years, Kraigg Brathwaite missed the rare feat of centuries in two rounds of a test when he was dismissed for 85 as the skipper of the West Indies was once again the linchpin of the effort of his team in the second round.
In the second test of the 2017 series against England in Leeds, Brathwaite scored 134 and 95 as the West Indies claimed a famous victory.
Having occupied the crease for eight and a half hours accumulating 126 of 354 in the opening innings, Brathwaite was more energetic the second time around with his team looking to establish a statement.
Nonetheless, his five hours at the crease in which he faced 196 balls and hit only four limits was again typical of his phlegmatic manner.
Expectations of a statement when he was propelled by Dushmantha Chameera deep into the final session turned out to be unfounded, as the pair of Jason Holder and Joshua da Silva put 53 unbroken for the fifth wicket when the call is finally arrived.
Holder dominated the scoring with an unbeaten run of 71.
“I just wanted to give us enough time to get the kind of leads on the board that our bowlers can work with,” Braithwaite said of justifying the delayed statement.
“It’s always a good batting, but I’m supporting our bowlers to put in a really good effort on the last day.”
Kyle Mayers’ positive play to reach the 55th had ideally complemented the opener’s more measured pace in the afternoon session.
After Kemar Roach finished the first Sri Lankan innings at 258 taking the last two wickets in the space of three deliveries on the fourth in the morning, the West Indies chased fast races to consolidate their position.
They lost John Campbell early, the left-handed opener again sent back to a capture by wicket keeper Niroshan Dickwella off Lakmal.
New batsman Jermaine Blackwood lived an enchanted life but his luck finally turned with his score of 18, Chameera, the third point guard in the Sri Lankan bowling attack, inducing an advantage for Dickwella to take his seventh catch of the match. AFP