West Indies batsmen stable after spin duo Permaul, Warrican ran through formidable Sri Lanka batting line up for 204 been 113 for 1 wicket O/V
West Indies 69 for 1 (Blackwood 44, Brathwaite 22*, Bonner 1*, Jayawickrama 1-11) trail Sri Lanka 204 (Nissanka 73, Karunaratne 42, Permaul 5-35, Warrican 4-50) by 135 runs
Rain permitted for barely half a day’s play on the second day of the second and final Test in Galle, but West Indies took big steps in the direction of squaring the series in that short time. Following a morning session that produced nine Sri Lankan wickets for just 91 runs, West Indies came up with a solid batting display after lunch, bringing the disparity to 135 runs for the loss of only Jermaine Blackwood’s wicket before the rain came. Kraig Brathwaite was unbeaten on 22 off 77 deliveries, and alongside him was Nkrumah Bonner on 1.
In an, notwithstanding brief, afternoon session largely barren of any frankly pulse-racing action, it was only Blackwood’s dismissal – and his ensuing off-colour judged review for an lbw off a Praveen Jayawickrama arm ball – as well as an futile review from the hosts a short while later against Brathwaite, that brought temporary eagerness
This was largely down to the fact that neither Blackwood nor Brathwaite were obligated to take any unnecessary hazards, as a consequence, neither was really verified. Both looked fairly at ease throughout their stay – whether moving deep into the crease to counter the turn late or planting a big front foot to get to the pitch – but notably steered clear of the sweeps and sauntering down the pitch that had been a hallmark of the Sri Lankan innings earlier.
This implied that they were comfortable to hang on for the bad balls – predominantly ones pitched too short – to score boundaries, though it was really only Blackwood that showed any resemblance of positive intention in that regard. His 99-ball 44 came with five fours.
The Sri Lankan spinners, for their part, battled to get the same buying off the pitch that the likes of Jomel Warrican and Veerasammy Permaul, who ended with career-best figures of 5 for 35, had extracted so painlessly previously in the day. Indeed, perhaps lifted by what they had seen in the morning, the Sri Lankan spinners were debatably a little too enthusiastic. On several occasions, they drifted too full, while on others they blundered on the shorter side. On the occasions that they did find their lengths, the West Indian batsmen were enticed into deceptive strokes, which ultimately brought about Blackwood’s wicket.
The general pared back nature of that session was bleak disparity to the morning session, when Warrican and Permaul had run unrest. They were skilful with their lines and lengths, and Warrican in particular varied his pace and flight well to thwart the batsmen from sinking down. Permaul was the essence of authority, with penetrating, stable lines – mixed in with the odd arm ball – that would have done even the best exponents of left-arm spin delighted.
After some brief early defiance from the batters, Warrican was compensated when he stimulated Oshada Fernando into trimming a cut to Joshua Da Silva behind the stumps. Oshada’s overnight partner, Pathum Nissanka, was the next to go, entrapped precisely in front courtesy a Permaul arm ball. There was no partnership of note after that, as Warrican and Permaul ran through the line-up, picking up a wicket nearly every other over – though Charith Asalanka’s reverse sweep to score his first runs in Test cricket will undoubtedly be evoked warmly.
To complex matters for Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews was forced to retire hurt, with what has now been confirmed as a thigh strain. While he is almost certainly not going to bowl in this game – he was due to open the bowling alongside Sri Lanka’s only other seamer, Suranga Lakmal – he showed that he could be called upon with the bat if needed. He returned to the crease towards the end of the innings, and progressed to launch some massive strikes to take Sri Lanka beyond the 200 mark, before receiving an perfect ripper from Warrican that zipped past his forward defence to knock back middle stump and bring the innings to an end.