Tough first day for Windies against Sri Lanka
GALLE – A two-wicket burst from Roston Chase and miserly bowling from Jason Holder failed to impact Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne, and his 13th Test hundred anchored his side to 267 for three against West Indies in the first Test on Sunday.
Chase was the pick of the Windies’ attack with 2-42 from 17 overs bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, and pacer Holder conceded only 15 runs from 14 wicket-less overs on a chastening opening day of the two-Test series for the Caribbean side on their Tour of Sri Lanka.
The West Indies bowlers met defiance from Karunaratne, and he was undefeated on 132, batting through the day before bad light stopped play two overs early at the Galle International Stadium to give the Sri Lankans the upper hand after they decided to bat.
“I think the pitch is a good batting pitch,” Chase said after play. “Not much there for the fast bowlers. The ball was spinning a little bit early on with the moisture that the wicket had, but after lunch it settled down.
“We took the second new ball, but I still think it’s a pitch where we need to be patient. On this track it’ll take a little more time to take the batters’ wickets. We need to be disciplined in our lines and lengths, and back it up in the field. Patience is the key.”
The Windies also had to contend with a blow to the head of debutant Jeremy Solozano that overshadowed play before lunch and sent the left-handed opener immediately to hospital for medical scans.
Solozano was struck on the front of the helmet near the forehead after Karunaratne pulled a short delivery from Chase in the 24th over.
Solozano spent several minutes lying on the ground, but he appeared conscious as he got medical treatment on the field, while surrounded by worried players from both sides.
Cricket West Indies stated on Twitter later: “Jeremy Solozano’s scans show no structural damage. He will be kept at the hospital overnight for observation. We will continue to keep you posted on any further updates from our medical team.”
The Windies squandered a chance to remove Karunaratne, on 14, in the first hour, when off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall got the left-hander to edge a delivery, but Jermaine Blackwood at slip failed to hold onto a one-handed grab.
Pacer Shannon Gabriel made the breakthrough Kraigg Brathwaite’s side after Karunaratne and fellow opener Pathum Nissanka took Sri Lanka to 61 without loss at lunch and shared 139 for the first wicket.
Gabriel had Nissanka caught at first slip for 56, chasing a full delivery wide outside the off-stump in the final hour before tea.
Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican failed to hold onto a return catch from Oshada Fernando, on three, in the final half-hour before Sri Lanka reached 163 for one at tea, but the reprieve was brief.
Chase had Fernando caught at short leg without addition to his score with the third ball after the break, and he also got Angelo Mathews caught at mid-wicket for three after the former Sri Lanka captain spent an unconvincing half-an-hour at the crease.
In between, Karunaratne worked a delivery from Gabriel through backward square leg for two to reach his landmark from 212 balls.
West Indies, however, could make no further headway even though they claimed the second new ball when it became due after 80 overs, as Karunaratne shared an unbroken stand of 97 for the fourth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva, not out on 56.
SRI LANKA 267 for three (Dimuth Karunaratne 132, Pathum Nissanka 56, Dhananjaya de Silva 56 not out; Roston Chase 2-42) vs WEST INDIES.