Chandimal fights but West Indies wrest control

Sri Lanka 157 for 5 (Chandimal 53*, Dickwella 5*, Gabriel 3-44) v West Indies

© CWI Media/Randy Brooks

Shannon Gabriel imposed himself in the afternoon, having earlier been brutal with the new ball. He claimed the wicket of Roshen Silva, as West Indies made further headway. They had Sri Lanka at 157 for 5 by tea, captain Dinesh Chandimal attempting to hold the innings together with a fighting unbeaten 53.

The two dismissals after lunch were the result of deliveries that bounced more than the Sri Lanka batsmen expected. Kusal Mendis, who had played well for his 45 off 83 balls, attempted to swat Jason Holder off his hips, but only managed to top edge him to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, who claimed a catch running towards square leg. Roshen Silva, who had two modest scores in the first Test, collected his third of the tour not long after. An angled Gabriel delivery that pitched on a length leapt at him more than he expected. The resultant catch went to Jason Holder, at third slip.

While Mendis was secure in the first part of the session, flicking balls off his pads, and lifting them over midwicket for boundaries, Chandimal had a reprieve. On 14, he had edged Miguel Cummins to second slip, only for Devon Smith to drop a straighforward catch, and allow the ball to trickle away for four. Defensively, Chandimal was solid. But when he ventured runs, he was often not in complete control. He had also survived a run out opportunity when he ran to the striker’s end on Mendis’ call on 18, only for the throw to miss the stumps.

He grew in confidence towards the end of the session, while batsmen failed around him. Mendis’ dismissal came out of the blue – that ball from Holder seeming fairly innocuous. Silva, though, has struggled with bounce through the tour, and Gabriel has been the best exponent of unexpected lift off the surface. Niroshan Dickwella was also nervy in his 20 balls before tea, often playing and missing outside the off stump. He was on two not out.

In the first session, Gabriel had struck twice in the early overs, having debutant Mahela Udawatte caught second ball by Holder, who dived across to take an excellent low catch from third slip. Soon after, Gabriel got a short delivery to jag back sharply off a length, and hit Dhananjaya de Silva on the back forearm, the ball going on to ricochet into the wickets. Kusal Perera had played and missed Kemar Roach all morning, but finally edged one on 32 off 55 balls, that catch also lobbing to Holder.

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

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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