The loss of Chandimal and de Silva substantially dented Sri Lanka’s likelihood of establishing a first-innings lead
Lunch Sri Lanka 189 for 5 (Thirimanne 55, Roach 1-54, Gabriel 1-33) trail West Indies 354 (Brathwaite 126, Cornwall 73, Lakmal 4-94) by 165 runs
Sri Lanka made further slow progress on a sluggish pitch, but the loss of both overnight batsmen – Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva – substantially dented their likelihood of establishing a first-innings lead. The visitors got to 189 for 5 – still 165 runs behind – before showers cut the first session short 10 minutes before scheduled lunch. At the crease were Pathum Nissanka on 19 off 55, and Niroshan Dickwella on 9 off 10 deliveries.
Of the two wickets to fall, that of de Silva will hurt Sri Lanka most. Not only did he seem assured – if reticent – against West Indies’ bowling, he also should not have been given lbw against the part-time offspin of Jermaine Blackwood, the over before the second new ball was due. He was batting on 39 off 139 balls when Blackwood spun one into his front pad. Although he was hit in front of middle stump, the ball always seemed to be turning sharply. He didn’t even consider a review; projections showed that the ball would be turning past leg stump.
Earlier in the session, Dinesh Chandimal had been worn down by the short ball, and hooked Shannon Gabriel to deep square leg to be dismissed on 44 off 101 deliveries. He had already been dropped off Gabriel, on 35, several overs earlier. The bouncer that dismissed him, though, was really the first that followed him and leapt up to chest height. He hooked, and sent it off the top half of the bat to the deep fielder, who took a comfortable catch running in. Chandimal and de Silva had put up Sri Lanka’s most productive partnership before this wicket though – their stand worth 75 off 186 deliveries.
Nissanka, fresh from his debut hundred in the second innings of the first Test, appeared largely untroubled through his stay, though he did once inside-edge Kyle Mayers into his back leg attempting a cut. As he and Dickwella are the last recognised batting pair left, Sri Lanka will hope desperately that they can put up a substantial stand (as they had in that first Test), if they are to have a chance of hauling West Indies’ 354 in.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf