2nd Test, Windies vs Sri Lanka, Gros Islet
Day 1, Stumps- Sri Lanka 253 Chandimal 119*(186), K. Mendis 45(85)
Gabriel 5/59, Roach 4/49 vs Windies 2/0
Dinesh Chandimal remained unbeaten at the end of Day One after Shannon Gabriel picked five en-route to dismissing Sri Lanka for 253.
Captain Chandimal won the toss and decided to bat first, hoping to put up some big runs on the board, but the Windies got ahead early in the day and remained on top thanks to Shannon Gabriel’s five-wicket haul.
Gabriel bowled a fiery first spell picking up two wickets in the first six overs. Debutant Udawatte’s first innings in test cricket lasted two balls, Gabriel getting the left-hander’s edge from around the wicket. The other opener, Dhananjaya De Silva, got two boundaries off the back foot, but Gabriel came back to dismiss him off a short one that bounced viciously and deflected off his arm before crashing onto the stumps. De Silva hobbled off the ground with the physio. Later, the team manager confirmed that he would be fit to bat in the second innings.
Chandimal and Kusal Mendis put together the only fifty-plus partnership of the Sri Lankan innings In the 35th over, Mendis was dismissed playing an awkward flick against Jason Holder. The ball looped high into the air towards square leg, the keeper covered the ground in-time to complete a good running catch.
With that wicket, the Windies were back in the chase. None of the last six batsmen crossed twenty runs and three of them fell to Gabriel. This was Gabriel’s third five wicket haul in international tests, the other two coming against Pakistan. His last five-wicket haul came at Bridgetown in 2017, the Windies winning that game by 106 runs.
While Chandimal held one end, the Windies bowlers chipped away at the other. The hosts had been given a good chance to get Chandimal early, but Devon Smith at slip dropped him on 14 off a Miguel Cummins’ delivery. He made the most of this opportunity.
Towards the end of the Sri Lankan innings, Chandimal was caught off a Kemar Roach no-ball which should have seen them bowled out for 251. Despite this second life for Chandimal the Sri Lankan innings ended just two runs later.
Kemar Roach supported Gabriel well, picking up four wickets, including the important scalp of Sri Lankan opener Kusal Perera who was looking good at 32 off 55.
Both the pacers came out to bowl with a clear short ball strategy. Roach and Gabriel were able to get the length ball to bounce above the stumps, especially when they bowled from around-the-wicket to the left handers. The other two fast bowlers, Cummins and Holder, maintained a similar line, but they were guilty of bowling too short a few too many times.
The Windies openers played out the two remaining overs without losing a wicket, capping off a great day at the field for the hosts. They will resume play at two for no loss tomorrow.
Photo Credit - CWI Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography