Player of the Match
Player of the Match

West Indies make substantial headway on rain-marred day

Shannon Gabriel celebrates dismissing Dinesh Chandimal Getty Images

Stumps Day 3 Sri Lanka 250 for 8 (Nissanka 49*, Holder 2-39) trail West Indies 354 (Brathwaite 126, Cornwall 73, Lakmal 4-94) by 104 runs

West Indies made substantial headway in the 42.1 overs that were possible on a rain-hit day three, claiming five Sri Lanka wickets as they conceded just 114 runs. When a final, play-ending squall arrived part-way through the third session, Sri Lanka were still 104 runs behind West Indies' 354, with just two wickets in hand.

The only real spot of brightness for the visitors was the batting of Pathum Nissanka, who followed up his debut century from the first Test by compiling a cautious 49 not out off 119. He struck only four boundaries, but seemed Sri Lanka's most-assured batsman on day three while wickets fell around him, showing encouraging powers of concentration through a stop-start innings thanks to the rain breaks. He had Lasith Embuldeniya for company when stumps was eventually called.

West Indies' bowlers were themselves disciplined and meticulous for most of day three, and they essentially outlasted several Sri Lanka batsmen. Of the five to fall, Jason Holder took two wickets, while Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and Jermaine Blackwood's part-time offspin claimed one apiece.

Dinesh Chandimal was the first Sri Lanka wicket to fall, having been worn down by the short ball from Gabriel. He had been dropped - also off Gabriel - on 35 several overs earlier and his eventual dismissal on 44 was the result of a mistimed hook which settled comfortably in the hands of the deep square leg fielder, substitute Hayden Walsh Jr., who ran in to take the catch. On a track that did not offer steepling bounce, this short ball was the first that really leapt up to chest height and followed Chandimal. His wicket ended Sri Lanka's most productive partnership, having put on 75 off 186 balls together with Dhananjaya de Silva.

The dismissal of de Silva for 39 shortly before rain arrived for the first time to cut the first session slightly short will perhaps be the one Sri Lanka rue the most. Not only did de Silva seem assured - if reticent - against West Indies' bowling, he also should not have been given lbw against Blackwood. 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, but ball-tracking projections showed that the ball would be turning past leg stump.

After lunch, less than 21 overs were played, and yet Sri Lanka still lost three wickets in that time. Niroshan Dickwella was the first to fall against the second new ball, inside-edging Holder to the wicketkeeper as the ball also grazed thigh pad on the way through. Unlike most of his compatriots, Dickwella was busy at the crease and scored at close to a run-a-ball, but managed only 20 before being dismissed. Suranga Lakmal didn't hang around long, flicking Joseph aerially to short mid-on several overs later. Dushmantha Chameera battled gamely for 26 deliveries while Nissanka progressed at the other end, but edged Holder behind in the little period of play that was possible in the third session.

Sri Lanka will be particularly disappointed that so many of their batsmen got starts, only Dimuth Karunaratne failed to reach 15, but that only Lahiru Thirimanne - who made 55 - has so far completed a half-century. They are left relying on Nissanka, their most junior batsman, to close the large gap between themselves and the opposition when play resumes on day four.

Sri Lanka 4th innings Partnerships

1st101FDM KarunaratneHDRL Thirimanne
2nd45FDM KarunaratneBOP Fernando
3rd47LD ChandimalBOP Fernando