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Test in the balance


HAYDN GILL, [email protected]

Test in the balance

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Spare a thought for Miguel Cummins.

Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach may be grabbing the headlines amidst calls for Cummins to make way in the West Indies team.

The Barbadian fast bowler, however, delivered a quality spell under the lights on the second day of the historic day/night Test at Kensington Oval last night but the figures did no justice to his effort.

The third, final and decisive match against Sri Lanka was in the balance when rain sent the players off the field just after 9 p.m., with the tourists on 99 for five in response to West Indies’ 204. Play was abandoned for the night at 9:50.

 

Fightback

 

It represented a fightback by Sri Lanka after Roach claimed both openers in an impressive spell in which he moved the ball around on a grassy pitch that fast bowlers would relish.

Cummins, however, had nothing to show despite causing a few problems, and it is bound to raise further concerns about his place in the team after he managed only three wickets in the first two Tests.

Truth be told, however, he looked the part in the middle session and deserved to have a few wickets against his name in seven consecutive overs from the Malcolm Marshall End in which he asked questions of the batsmen.

 

Edge

 

When the luck isn’t going your way, nothing seems to go right. Cummins should have had Kusal Mendis caught in the slips after he found the right-hander’s edge but Devon Smith and Kraigg Brathwaite remained stationary as the ball went between them.

Cummins also troubled left-hander Danushka Gunathilaka a few times, once with a rising ball that forced the batsman to take evasive action.

Finally, the luckless fast bowle thought he had his man through a catch at mid-off but the joy was short-lived. As Gunathilaka was half-way back to the pavilion, the big screen showed that Cumminsr had over-stepped the front crease. He could only blame himself but he looked to the heavens probably asking what else must he do to get a wicket.

Cummins had replaced Shannon Gabriel who failed to make an impression in his first spell after his 13-wicket match haul in the second Test.

At the opposite end, however, Roach took advantage of the generous coating of grass on the pitch to make the early breakthroughs for West Indies.

Needing early strikes in defence of a hardly imposing total but a decent one considering the early worries of 53 for five on the first day, Roach removed claimed two wickets against batsmen who approached him with some degree of uncertainty. He found the inside of edge of left-hander Kusal Perera’s bat on the way to a keeper’s catch and Mahela Udawatte was palpably lbw trying to push forward.

As Sri Lanka’ recovered from those early losses in a third wicket partnership of 59 between Gunathilaka and Mendis, West Indies  brought the match back on even keel by claming three wickets at the start of the final session – two of them coming from lbws on decision reviews.

 

Partnership

 

West Indies’ fightback with the bat was due to a sixth-wicket partnership of 115 between Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder but it was disappointing that there was nothing significant before or after that stand between the two Barbadians.

Holder batted with plenty of assurance for his 74 and looked like he was heading towards a third Test century before he was dislodged by a sensational diving catch by Perera at gully.

Dowrich added 11 to his overnight 60 before he was lbw, a decision that was confirmed after West Indies seemingly wasted a decision review. (HG)

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