Barbados Pride trio set up Windies for victory charge
NORTH SOUND – Solid batting down the order led by Barbados Pride trio of Kraigg Brathwaite, Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers allowed West Indies to declare their second innings and set Sri Lanka 377 to win the second Test in Antigua.
Windies captain Brathwaite hit the top score of 85, his predecessor Holder supported with an unbeaten 71 and left-hander Mayers made a typically enterprising 55 that set up the hosts for a second innings total of 280 for four declared on the penultimate day of the match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
West Indies gave themselves about 40 minutes before the close to get started on their charge for victory, but Lahiru Thirimanne, not out on 17, and his captain Dimuth Karunaratne, not out on 11, stoutly resisted to carry the Sri Lankans to 29 without loss when stumps were drawn.
The Windies recovered from a shaky start and they were 69 for two at lunch, after left-handed opener John Campbell was caught behind off Suranga Lakmal for 10 and their vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood suffered a similar fate off Dushmantha Chameera for 18.
Brathwaite was nearly run out on six in a mix-up with Blackwood before lunch and Oshada Fernando dropped him on 34 at forward short leg off Dushmantha Chamera after lunch.
But the West Indies captain, a century-maker in the first innings, doubled down, and Mayers was the perfect foil in their third wicket stand of 82 before he was lbw to Lakmal.
Brathwaite held firm and put on 87 for the fourth wicket with Holder before he was bowled, playing across a well-pitched delivery that kept low.
Holder then took charge in an unbroken stand of 53 for the fifth wicket with Joshua da Silva, not out on 20, and they ushered the Windies to the declaration.
Earlier, Pride pacer Kemar Roach grabbed the last two Sri Lanka wickets – including rookie batsman Pathum Nissanka for 51 – in the third full over of the morning and the visitors were bowled out for 258 to give West Indies a first innings lead of 96.
Roach ended with three for 58 from 18 overs, making him the most successful Windies bowler, and carried his tally of scalps at this venue to 39 at 16.05 runs apiece in only seven Tests.
The two-Test series is level 0-0, after the first Test ended in a draw last Thursday at the same venue, and there are heavy odds that this may also be the outcome.
But the team that wins will hold onto the Garfield Sobers-Michael Tissera Trophy, symbol of Test supremacy between the two sides, which the Sri Lankans have held since its inception six years ago.
For West Indies, a win will give them their second successive series victory this year, a rarity in recent times, and move them ahead of the Sri Lankans in the ICC World Rankings to No.7.
For Sri Lanka, a win or a draw will keep them in the No.7 position, but they will be eyeing success to clinch their first series victory over the Windies in the Caribbean, something they have not achieved on four previous trips.
WEST INDIES 354 (Kraigg Brathwaite 126, Rahkeem Cornwall 73, Kyle Mayers 49, Jason Holder 30, Alzarri Joseph 29, Jermaine Blackwood 18; Suranga Lakmal 4-94, Dushmantha Chameera 3-69) and 280 for four declared (Kraigg Brathwaite 85, Jason Holder 71 not out, Kyle Mayers 55, Joshua da Silva 20 not out, Jermaine Blackwood 18, John Campbell 10; Suranga Lakmal 2-62, Dushmathan Chameera 2-74).
SRI LANKA 258 (Lahiru Thirimanne 55, Pathum Nissanka 51, Dinesh Chandimal 44, Dhananjaya de Silva 39, Niroshan Dickwella 20, Oshada Fernando 18; Kemar Roach 3-58, Jason Holder 2-39, Alzarri Joseph 2-64) and 29 without loss (Lahiru Thirimanne 17 not out, Dimuth Karunaratne 11 not out).