West Indian cricketers would have found their clothing a bit loose last night, as they would have shed some pounds after spending more than ten hours in the scorching heat in the first Test here in Galle.
At the end of the second day of the two-match battle named the Sobers/Tisserra series, the West Indies were battling on 66/2 in reply to the Sri Lankan’s mammoth first innings effort of 484 all out.
Spinner Rangana Herath, expected to be the key to the Sri Lankan efforts for the rest of this Test, has already indicated his intentions by claiming both openers. The young Barbadians Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope started off like men in a hurry and played some very attractive shots against the new ball.
However, with the introduction of Herath, things changed. Brathwaite was leg before for 19 with the score at 33 and Hope played down the wrong line and was castled soon after for 23. The experienced Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels calmly took the visitors to the close at 66/2—still needing another 218 runs to avoid the follow on.
Earlier, Sri Lanka resumed on the bedtime position of 250/2 and under brilliant blue skies, they continued to plunder the visitors bowling. The West Indies fieldsmen seem to enjoy the batting of Karunaratne and Chandimal, who both chanced their ways to hundreds. Chandimal was dropped on 84 by Jermaine Blackwood at point and used his good fortune to bring up his fourth Test century.
His effort came in 278 minutes, in which time he faced 196 balls and struck one six and ten fours. Karunaratne continued to pile on the runs at the other end and the two eclipsed the previous highest score for the third wicket by Sri Lanka against the West Indies. They passed the previous best of 162 which was achieved by Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra in 2001.
They posted 238 together before part time off-spinner Samuels separated them. He had Karunaratne caught and bowled for an epic 186.
The West Indies had toiled for 73 overs before Samuels got the breakthrough. Karunaratne occupied the crease for 482 minutes, had to negotiate 354 balls, 16 of which he sent rolling over the ropes and one flying over it.
Skipper Angelo Mathews joined Chandimal and they were able to take the score to 344/3 at lunch, as Sri Lanka dominated the morning session scoring 94 runs for the loss of one wicket.
After lunch it was more of the same and Chandimal brought up his 150 without fuss. It followed his unbeaten 162 against India recently at this seaside venue. He was finally dismissed for 151 scored in 393 minutes off 298 balls with two sixes and 16 fours. Immediately after ripping him out, Taylor followed with debutant Malinda Siriwadana for one.
After the tea interval the West Indies grabbed the last five wickets for 36 runs. Mathews, who fell first ball after the interval, made 48 in 125 minutes of 65 balls with five fours and a six.
The pick of the West Indies bowlers was leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo who claimed 4/143 from 40.3 overs.