Cornwall leads Windies fight-back
NORTH SOUND – Hometown hero Rahkeem Cornwall boldly led a counter-attack and West Indies earned a hard-fought, 99-run, first innings lead over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Antigua.
Cornwall, batting at nine, led the Windies batting with an even, unbeaten 60 and the Windies were 268 for eight, replying to the Sri Lankans’ first innings total of 169, at the close on the second day of the match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Cornwall shared 90 for the eighth wicket with Joshua da Silva, after the visitors – led by pacer Suranga Lakmal – plunged the Caribbean side into turmoil on 171 for seven in the first hour after tea with purposeful bowling.
But Cornwall, playing on home soil for the first time, took on the Sri Lanka pacers in particular, striking nine fours and two sixes from 79 balls to lead West Indies out of jeopardy.
Da Silva emerged from a circumspect start, but he fell for 46, when he tried to upper cut a short, rising ball from Dushmantha Chameera and was caught behind inside the final half-hour.
A handful of others got starts without carrying on – Kyle Mayers got 45, John Campbell made 42 and Nkrumah Bonner added 31.
Lakmal was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers taking five for 45 from 24 overs and Dushmantha Chameera grabbed two for 71 from 22 overs.
Earlier, West Indies starting the day on 13 without loss made slow progress before they reached 72 for two at lunch.
The Windies suffered the early loss of their captain Kraigg Brathwaite caught at second slip off Lakmal for three in the third over of the morning and were fortunate that Bonner, on 17, was reprieved by a no-ball, after he was caught at second slip off Chameera d.
Bonner added 56 for the second wicket with Campbell, his fellow Jamaican, before he was lbw to ambidextrous spinner Lasith Embuldeniya for 31 in the final over before lunch.
After lunch, West Indies lost three wickets – two to Lakmal – before tea, but they crawled to within six runs of taking the lead on 163 for five.
The Windies failed to ease concerns about their batting during this period, when they were engaged in a fierce battle with the visitors’ pace attack.
Mayers launched the first counter-offensive of the day, hitting six fours and two sixes from 70 balls, and Campbell showed grit, but the two left-handers and Jermaine Blackwood fell to ill-advised strokes to bring Sri Lanka back into the contest.
After tea, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph fell cheaply to Lakmal with West Indies ahead by only two runs, but Cornwall and da Silva extended their lead.
SRI LANKA 169 (Lahiru Thirimanne 70, Niroshan Dickwella 32, Dhananjaya 13, Dimuth Karunaratne 12; Jason Holder 17.4-6-27-5, Kemar Roach 3-47).
WEST INDIES 268 for eight (Rahkeem Cornwall 60, Joshua da Silva 46, Kyle Mayers 45, John Campbell 42, Nkrumah Bonner 31, Jason Holder 19; Suranga Lakmal 24-9-45-5, Dushmantha Chameera 2-71).