Windies strike late to en­hance vic­tory odds

Stabroek News Sunday - - SUNDAY SPORT -

PORT OF Trinidad, CMC

SPAIN, – West Indies struck a cru­cial blow in the penul­ti­mate over of the fourth day when they prised out Roshen Silva cheaply, fur­ther en­hanc­ing their chances of win­ning the open­ing Test against Sri Lanka here yes­ter­day.

Need­ing to pro­duce a record run chase after be­ing set a mam­moth tar­get of 453, Sri Lanka ended on 176 for three, re­quir­ing a fur­ther 277 runs on to­day’s fi­nal day in or­der to win the in­trigu­ing con­test at Queen’s Park Oval.

Though Windies re­mained the odds-on favourites, Sri Lanka were left with a glim­mer of hope, cour­tesy of an un­beaten 94 from stylish opener Kusal Mendis.

The right-han­der has taken the at­tack to the Windies in a com­pact in­nings that has so far lasted 186 balls and just over 3-3/4 hours, and in­cluded nine fours and two sixes.

Handed a life on 42 when he was dropped by wick­et­keeper Shane Dowrich off leg-spin­ner Deven­dra Bishoo, Mendis car­ried on un­fazed to add 102 for the se­cond wicket – first with cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal who re­tired ill on 15, and then with An­gelo Mathews who made 31.

Mendis put on a fur­ther 52 for the third with Roshen Silva who scored 14, be­fore fall­ing to Bishoo with the shad­ows length­en­ing.

Kieran Pow­ell had ear­lier missed out on a de­serv­ing hun­dred when he per­ished for 88 as West Indies, re­sum­ing the day on 131 for four, de­clared their se­cond in­nings on 223 for seven, 13 min­utes after lunch.

The el­e­gant left-han­der, start­ing the day on 64, never found his rhythm of the pre­vi­ous evening and strug­gling to score freely, even­tu­ally clip­ping an or­di­nary ball from off­spin­ner Dil­ruwan Per­era for sub­sti­tute Jef­frey Van­der­say to claim a low catch at mid-wicket, 45 min­utes be­fore lunch.

He faced 127 de­liv­er­ies in 2-3/4 hours at the crease and counted seven fours and two sixes.

There was lit­tle ur­gency from he or wick­et­keeper Shane Dowrich who de­parted on the halfhour mark, lbw to seamer Lahiru Ku­mara after adding two runs to his overnight 11.

Thank­fully, Holder then ar­rived to lift the scor­ing rate, strik­ing four fours and a straight six in a 40ball cameo, as he added a vi­tal 42 for the sixth wicket with Pow­ell.

He de­parted lbw to lef­t­arm spin­ner Ran­gana Herath, 15 min­utes be­fore lunch, leav­ing West Indies on 209 for seven at the in­ter­val.

The hosts hung around for a fur­ther three overs fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion, enough time to get the lead to over 450, be­fore declar­ing for the se­cond time in the match – only the se­cond time in 33 years the Windies had man­aged the feat.

Ku­mara ended with three for 40 and Herath, two for 52. West Indies wasted lit­tle time in mak­ing in­roads when speed­ster Shan­non Gabriel claimed Kusal Per­era CWI Me­dia) cheaply for 12 in the fourth over with the score on 21, the left-han­der caught at first slip by Devon Smith look­ing to work a quick de­liv­ery into the on-side.

Chandi­mal ap­peared un­trou­bled in his 21 balls at the crease but com­plained of feel­ing un­well and left the field, with the score on 49.

How­ever, Mendis and Mathews en­sured there was no fur­ther loss, tak­ing Sri Lanka to tea on 65 for one, be­fore push­ing on in the fi­nal ses­sion with free scor­ing. Sri Lanka were be­gin­ning to en­force a (Photo cour­tesy

Windies re­treat when Mathews fell to a soft dis­missal, feath­er­ing a leg­side catch to Dowrich off seamer Holder. Even then, Mendis re­mained dif­fi­cult to dis­lodge, reach­ing his sixth Test half-cen­tury on the stroke of the fi­nal hour and also show­ing enough swag­ger to hook fast bowler Ke­mar Roach for his se­cond six.

Sri Lanka were inch­ing their way to the close in a strong po­si­tion when Silva got one from Bishoo that held up in the pitch, found him­self in a tan­gle and looped a sim­ple re­turn catch.

West Indies cap­tain Ja­son Holder cel­e­brates after cap­tur­ing the wicket of An­gelo Mathews on the fourth day of the open­ing Test.

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