Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 1st Test 2021/22


Despite Chase’s five-for, visitors are 273 runs behind Sri Lanka

Stumps West Indies 113 for 6 (Brathwaite 41, Mendis 3-23, Jayawickrama 2-25) trail Sri Lanka 386 (Karunaratne 147, Dhananjaya 61, Nissanka 56, Chandimal 45, Chase 5-83, Warrican 3-87, Gabriel 2-69) by 273 runs

West Indies worked themselves back into the game in the first two sessions, taking Sri Lanka’s last seven wickets for 105. But then they gave up all the ground they had gained in the evening, losing six wickets for 54 runs.

Essentially, what this means, is that despite Roston Chase‘s five-wicket haul, West Indies are 273 runs behind Sri Lanka, with only four wickets remaining. They bat deep, but the pitch is already taking substantial turn, particularly for Sri Lanka’s spinners. So dominant were the slow bowlers of both sides on day two, that no batter could make a half-century; Dinesh Chandimal and Kraigg Brathwaite came closest, hitting 45 and 41 respectively.
Sri Lanka lost their overnight pair in the first hour, and lost the remainder of their batters either side of lunch, but still, it was the last session of the day that was most dramatic. West Indies had restricted Sri Lanka to 386 – a good score, but not the gargantuan one that the hosts had threatened at the end of day one. Brathwaite and makeshift opener Jermaine Blackwood (he was taking the place of the concussed Jeremy Solozano, with concussion substitute Shai Hope to come in at No. 4) made a half-decent start, too, putting on 46 for the first wicket. But as is often the case in Galle – though often not as early as the second day – once one partnership is broken, several wickets fall in quick succession.
Blackwood was the first to be dismissed. He had been lbw on 2 against Dushmantha Chameera, but the umpire turned down the appeal and Sri Lanka did not review. He had seemed to have become comfortable at the crease, particularly against Lasith Embuldeniya, whom he launched for a straight six, but then missed a straightening delivery from the same bowler, and was correctly adjudged lbw (Blackwood burned a review).
Four overs later, Praveen Jayawickrama – the other left-arm spinner in Sri Lanka’s XI – got a ball to erupt from the straight, and take Nkrumah Bonner’s glove on the way to slip, where Dhananjaya de Silva took a sharp catch to his left.
Offspinner Ramesh Mendis then took two wickets in two big-spinning balls, split across two overs. His first victim was Brathwaite, who was caught at leg slip. His second was Shai Hope, who was snaffled at short leg – both batters having been out off the inside edge. Mendis would also have Chase caught at short leg before the day was out, after Jayawickrama had nightwatchman Jomel Warrican caught behind. Although West Indies have Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers at the crease, and Joshua de Silva and Rahkeem Cornwall to come, it is not guaranteed, on what has suddenly become such a devious surface, that they will surpass the follow-on score.

The first dismissal of the day, however, had been the strangest. Dhananjaya de Silva had added five runs to his overnight 56 and seemed to be batting nicely, when he was a touch late playing a defensive shot to a back-of-a-length Shannon Gabriel ball. He made a good connection, but the ball dropped by his feet and seemed to be bouncing into the stumps, so he turned around to swipe at it. He only nicked it the first time, and had to swipe again, but on that second occasion, dislodged the bails with his bat, and was out hit wicket.

Dimuth Karunaratne, who was on 132, had started the day nervously, and was out to some excellent wicketkeeping having added only 15 to his score – Joshua da Silva whipping off the bails after Chase had drawn Karunaratne forward with a loopy offbreak.

Jomel Warrican, who had gone wicketless on day one, took three wickets either side of lunch – the dismissal of Ramesh, whose glove Warrican collected with a delivery that leapt off the surface, being the most spectacular of the three. Chandimal, who had battled the spinners as well as anyone on day two, was out to Chase, after Rahkeem Cornwall anticipated and intercepted a reverse sweep. Chase dismissed Embuldeniya to complete his fourth five-for in Tests. At the time, it had seemed like West Indies had clawed themselves to near parity by keeping Sri Lanka’s total under 400.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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