West Indies and Sri Lanka fought in a two-match test series in the Caribbean, and after the first test ended in a draw, that meant it all came down to the second and final test in Antigua- and Barbuda and Sir Vivian. Richards Stadium to see who could win the series.
The Sri Lankans entered the final day 29/0 after surviving a blast of nine over West Indian bowlers late on day four, and with an unlikely goal of 377 needed for tourists to win the test and the streak, it was really all about whether the Windies could knock down the ten wickets needed to win this test and take them above their opponents in the test standings. If Sri Lanka did the impossible and win that it would mean a very first series victory in the Caribbean, it was a tall order.
How did we get to this point in this test then? Well the West Indies hit first on day one and posted 354 every 111.1 overs, skipper Brathwaite hit for 514 minutes in his brilliant 126, he was the glue of the Windies’ first innings but was helped by a dazzling 73 in 92 bullets. by Cornwall as they put on an eighth wicket partnership of 103 which certainly increased the hosts’ first innings total. The Sri Lankan bowlers pick was Lakmal who took 4-94 in his 28 overs.
Sri Lanka responded with 258 allouts in 107 overs, which meant the West Indies had a good lead in the first inning, opener Thirimanne scoring his third fifty in a row in the series with 55, while Nissanka, who was only playing for his second test and had scored. a fifty-one century on his debut in the first test, scored another fifty in this one with a useful 51, Roach was the choice of the Windies bowlers taking 3-58 in his 18 overs.
Much of the third day was lost due to the weather, although in the 42.1 overs that took place the West Indies took five wickets, and that meant on day four Windies had to take the last two wickets. of this round so they could get into the bat and set a goal, and they did, which means that by day four the West Indies started setting that goal.
Braithwaite was in good shape again, reaching a 299 minute 85 as he with Mayers (55) and J Holder (71 not released) saw the Windies declare 280/4 on 72.4 overs, setting the Sri Lankans a goal of 377 with nine overs and all day five to realistically survive and get a draw and draw the streak accordingly.
Thirimanne and skipper Karunaratne, as noted above, managed to survive the forty minute stick late on day four, and this set up an intriguing final day in Antigua and Barbuda the tourist should beat and dig well you would have thought, but it also wasn’t going to be easy for the West Indies bowlers and they would have to work hard to get the ten wickets needed to win.
A note before day five however was the injury of Sri Lankan bowler Embuldeniya, who was stretched out of the field on day four after being injured during the match, so if he was unable to hit it was a wicket. less for the guests.
So how would this be? Unfortunately the weather gods did not play ball and the start of the day was delayed by the rain and with each passing minute and more lost the task became more and more difficult for the Windies, while for the Sri Lanka, that was exactly what they wanted as they would need to beat less and less time the more it was raining.
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The day finally started a little over an hour after the scheduled start, and after two hours of rest they left for a heavy downpour of rain, which was frustrating for the hosts, to say the least. can tell, but after returning, the tourists were successful. to take advantage of the friendly stick conditions and get to lunch without losing a wicket and being 93/0 on 34 overs.
It could have been so different if West Indian goalkeeper Da Silva had latched on to a catch at Gabriel’s bowling alley when the score was 38/0, and he would have got rid of the Thirirmanne-shaped batsmen as well, but the catch was bombarded and It didn’t help the Windies’ mood which was rather subdued and devoid of any sort of belief and urgency, that wicket could have changed that, but instead it was just about the only major moment. morning session, and Sri Lanka was doing well on their way to drawing this test, the Windies needed to play a lot better with a lot more intensity in the afternoon / evening sessions if they had a chance to win this one.
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The two opening batsmen, Thirimanne (37 not released) and the skipper Karunaratne (54 not released) had played well and looked pretty comfortable, they were hoping for more of the same for the rest of the day, and early in the afternoon a big blow to the West Indies when Gabriel, their melon with the x factor, found himself with what looked like a hamstring injury entering a bowl, and you felt like that moment it wasn’t going to be his or the hosts’ day.
Shortly after, in the 39e again and with the score of 101/0, the Windies grabbed the breakthrough when Thirimanne was caught in the slips by Cornwall off Joseph, and the Sri Lankan was gone for 39 years, the first time in the series he failed to reach fifty, would it start a charge towards victory for the hosts?
Initially, thereafter, Joseph and Cornwall put pressure on the two Sri Lankan batsmen, Karunaratne and O Fernando, with Cornwall mostly causing problems with his off-spin, but after being seen the game drifted back. with the beaters finding. things that are comfortable on a flat and rather docile surface.
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Then came the quick middle bowler Mayers, he’s the golden arm of the West Indies in this series and seems to have some big wickets, and he started to swing the ball into both batsmen, and after thinking he had had Fernando LBW, but saw him knocked down after the ball was deemed too heavy and a leg stump was missing, he got the skipper Karunaratne plum LBW for 75, and the tourists were 146/2 in the 56e finished, a glimmer of hope for the West Indies perhaps?
The West Indies believed they caught Fernando in a leg slip by the bat mat method at Cornwall bowling alley, but the ball missed the bat by about two inches, and that was likely a criticism in desperation from the hosts’ share as the overs were now short, as Sri Lanka hit Tea on 146/2 and with only 35 overs left in the Test Match, it seemed almost certain that this match would end a draw.
It was safe to say that after the tea break, both teams seemed to go through the motions and had either settled for a draw or were at least resigned that this was going to end as one., so it took place in a rather relaxed atmosphere as both teams ended at the end of this test match and this series.
O Fernando took advantage of the rather friendly fighting conditions in the latter part of that match and scored a decent unbeaten 66 as the Sri Lankans finished 193/2 out of 79 overs with the captains shaking hands fifteen times before the end of the This isn’t the last day many wanted if the truth was told, but both sides would undoubtedly take a lot of positives from this round of two tests.
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Here is a brief summary of the Test Match: –
West Indies 354 (Brathwaite 126; Lakmal 4-94) & 280 / 4Dec (Brathwaite 85; Lakmal 2-62)
Sri Lanka 258 (Thirimanne 55; Roach 3-58) & 193/2 (Karunaratne 75; Mayers 1-5)
Draw – Series of two draws 0-0