West Indies avert follow-on to be 224/9 Rain interrupts play after 4th over after lunch – by Sunil Thenabadu (sports editor – eLanka)
West Indies 224 for 9 (Mayers 45, Brathwaite 41,holder 36,Cornwell 39 Jayawickrama 3-38, Ramesh 3-75) trail Sri Lanka 386 by 162 runs
Rain washed out the final session the entirety of the second session barring- only four overs completed after lunch before the trained ground staff was called into action – West Indies ended the third day on 224 for 9, still 162 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total. Play will begin 15 minutes earlier on the fourth and fifth days to cover for the lost time.
The rain proved a blessing in disguise the acquittal for the visitors on a day that had otherwise begun rather encouragingly, with Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers taking the attack to the home side. After the stand ended,, with Rahkeem Cornwall being dismissed for a well compiled 39 off what turned out to be the final ball of the day..
For Sri Lanka, Praveen Jayawickrama added to his wicket tally from the previous day to finish the day with figures of 3 for 38, while Dhananjaya de Silva and Suranga Lakmal also got in on the act lately.Despite Ramesh Mendis, the pick of Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the second day, being unable to reproduce the same control he had shown the previous evening – his 11 overs on the third day went for 52 runs with wicketless expensive indeed. However hosts remained in steady control of the Test.
In the first hour or so in the morning, West Indies had looked rather threatening. Both Mayers and ever reliable Holder showed they were unafraid to use the depth of the crease against the spinners, while Holder precisely used his additional range to constantly get to the pitch of the ball and smother the significant spin on offer – two delicious drives through cover for boundaries were the élite of his shots. Mayer, meanwhile, was content to rock back whenever possible, thrice lambasting deliveries short and wide past point for four.
The duo rotated the strike with comfort, as Sri Lanka’s spinners progressively lost their early confidence in flighting the ball and resorted to flatter paths. The breakthrough ultimately came courtesy some exceptional catching – first from captain Dimuth Karunaratne and then Dushmantha Chameera.
The first to be dismissed was Mayers, who failed to get to the pitch of one from de Silva that held up a touch and bounced up off a length. Mayers,to be brilliantly caught by the skipper..
Burly Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva then proceeded to put on 49 for the ninth wicket, but just as that partnership was beginning to look encouraging, Cornwall top-edged a pull off Lakmal to square leg on the last ball of the 80th over. The second new ball was available but rain guaranteed there would be no more activity on the wet ground..