West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite fell short of a second century Thursday but helped his team to a commanding position after the fourth day of the second cricket test against Sri Lanka. Brathwaite followed his 126 in the West Indies first innings of 354 with 85 which, along with half centuries to Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder, allowed him to declare his teams second innings at 280-4, a lead of 376.
Brathwaite called his batsmen in just after 4: 40 p.m., giving the West Indies around 38 minutes to bowl at Sri Lanka before stumps. Holder was left 71 not out, having shared a late 53-run partnership with Joshua da Silva who was 20 not out.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne (11) and Lahiru Thirimanne (17) guided Sri Lanka through nine overs to 29-0 at stumps when they still trailed by 347.
Brathwaite was obviously disappointed to be out close to a second century in the match but happy with the West Indies performance.
We wanted to get a few overs in this evening when its a tough period for the openers to bat, he said. The wickets didnt materialize but I think the runs on the board are good.
It wont be easy, the pitch is decent so weve go to work hard tomorrow. It would be great (to win) and go up the test rankings but weve got to take care of session by session.
Sri Lanka had begun the day at 250-8 in its first innings, 104 runs behind the West Indies. The home side took just over three overs to wrap up the innings at 258 and take a first innings lead of 96 runs.
Pathum Nissanka, poised on 49 overnight, completed his half century from the fifth ball of the day and from 123 deliveries. But he was out soon after for 51, caught by wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva from the bowling of Kemar Roach and the Sri Lanka innings lasted only three more deliveries before Vishwa Fernando was the last man out.
Bearing the heavy weight of the deficit, Sri Lanka made an early breakthrough in the West Indies second innings when it dismissed opener John Campbell, caught by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella from the bowling of Suranga Lakmal for 10.
An element of contention arose from the following ball when Jermaine Blackwood, batting up the order in place of the injured Nkrumah Bonner, appeared to have been trapped lbw by Lakmal. The on-field umpire rejected Sri Lankas appeal and the television replay showed the ball hitting a chunk of leg stump. But under the DRS system the umpires call is favored and Blackwood survived.
He had another let-off when he was 7 and was dropped by Lahiru Thirimanne at first slip off Vishwa Fernando. Brathwaite was fortune to survive a run out chance minutes earlier. He was well short of his ground when the throw from the outfield was relayed to Dhananjaya de Silva at the non-strikers end but Dhananjaya was unable to control the ball and take off the bails.
Blackwood was 18 when he was caught by Dickwella from Dushmantha Chameera, giving the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper his seventh catch of the match.
Mayers also benefited from the quirks of the DRS system when he survived Dhananjayas lbw appeal in the 29th over. The umpire again turned down Sri Lanka and the television replay showed the ball hitting the off bail.
Mayers went on to a half century from 63 balls, with eight boundaries, before eventually falling lbw to Lakmal for 55. In this case he couldnt be saved by the review after the on-field decision of out and replays showed the ball hitting middle stump. Brathwaite reached his 21st test half century from 137 balls and looked set to reach centuries in both innings when he went on to 85. But at that point he played an unusually casual shot to a ball from Chameera angled into middle and off. Seeking to work the ball to square leg, he missed entirely and the delivery passed through his shot to hit the stumps.
Holder hurried the West Indies towards a declaration with his half century from 69 balls.