Rain brings early end as WI avoid following on
GALLE – Rain offered West Indies a welcomed reprieve after Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, and Rahkeem Cornwall battled hard, and the Caribbean side reached 224 for nine in their first innings to avoid following on against Sri Lanka in the first Test on Tuesday.
Left-hander Mayers has the top score so far of 45, Cornwall added 39, and Holder supplied 36 to lead a recovery for the Windies on the third day of the match at the Galle International Stadium.
West Indies added only nine runs in 30 balls and lost Cornwall on the last delivery before the second new ball was available to the Sri Lankans when the rain interrupted play about 25 minutes after lunch.
The players never returned to the field even though the umpires inspected the field and flirted with the idea, but another downpour after an early tea break was taken ended any possibility of a resumption.
Play will start half-hour earlier on the final two days to make up for the lost time, with 98 overs scheduled for each, provided the rain stays away, but the forecast was not promising.
Rain also dogged the Caribbean side’s only warm-up match ahead of the two-Test series, a four-day match against the Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI in Colombo, which ended without a ball being bowled.
Earlier, West Indies resumed from their overnight total of 113 for six, replying to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 386.
A stand of 63 for the seventh wicket between Mayers and Holder dominated the first hour and put the Windies to within reach of passing the follow-on target of 187.
Mayers and Holder batted with confidence and took the attack to the Sri Lankan attack, and they appeared to neutralise the threat of Sri Lankan spinners, who were getting appreciable assistance from the dry, loose pitch.
Mayers, however, was the first to crack under the pressure when he was caught at short extra cover off the part-time off-spin of Dhananjaya de Silva, playing an ill-advised drive, and Holder followed three overs later when he was caught at point from a miscued cut.
West Indies were 175 for eight when Cornwall came to the crease and took charge, putting on 49 with Joshua da Silva, not out on 11, to take the Windies past the follow-on target.
But Cornwall failed to control a pull at a short-ball from pacer Suranga Lakmal and was caught at square leg from a top-edge before the rain stopped play for the rest of the day.
Left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama has been the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers with 3-38 from 17 overs, and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis has taken 3-75 from 17 overs.
SRI LANKA 286 (Dimuth Karunaratne 147, Dhananjaya de Silva 61, Pathum Nissanka 56, Dinesh Chandimal 45, Lasith Embuldeniya 17, Ramesh Mendis 13, Suranga Lakmal 11; Roston Chase 28.5-3-83-5, Jomel Warrican 3-87, Shannon Gabriel 2-69).
WEST INDIES 224 for nine (Kyle Mayers 45, Kraigg Brathwaite 41, Rahkeem Cornwall 39, Jason Holder 36, Jermaine Blackwood 20; Praveen Jayawickrama 3-38, Ramesh Mendis 3-75).