Windies 204 [J Holder 74 (123),L Kumara 4/58] & 93 [K Roach23*(37),(Kasun Rajitha 3-20)], Sri Lanka 154 [N Dickwella 42(72), J Holder 4/19] & 81/5 [( K Mendis 25(38), J Holder 4-21) ].
A late wicket-taking spell from the Windies skipper Jason Holder kept the host’s quest for a series win alive after they were all out for 93 earlier on day three of the final Test match. A total of 20 wickets fell on day three, the most in a day’s play on Caribbean soil in Test cricket.
The Windies looked beaten after they left a meagre target of 144 for Sri Lanka. But Jason Holder’s spell of 4-21 at the end of day three reduced the visitors to 81/5 with 63 runs still to get for a win. The Windies captain followed his first innings figures of 4/19 by picking up four wickets in the second innings too, his tally of 8/40 so far in this game is his best bowling figures in a Test.
In the absence of the injured Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka opened the innings along with Mahela Udawatte, both of whom were dismissed within 10 overs. Udawatte’s poor series continued, he was dismissed LBW off Kemar Roach for a duck, his second of this tour.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Dhananjaya de Silva scored 21 for the second wicket to get the chase going. It lasted only till Holder introduced himself into the attack, the Windies captain picked up Gunathilaka in the first ball that he bowled.
Gunathilaka was guilty of attempting an unnecessary pull, the ball bounced a little more than expected, it took the top edge and ballooned over mid-on only for Bishoo to take a good catch while running back.
In the same over Dhananjaya de Silva was dropped at second slip, but he added just four runs to his score before getting out bowled in a comical fashion. In Holder’s third over, De Silva let go of an in-swinging delivery which took the off-stump for a cartwheel. It was sharp bowling from the Windies captain, he took the ball away from the right hander initially, then pushed one onto the stump,
Holder was relentless, in his next over he dismissed Roshen Silva with an outswinger that Devon Smith pouched at second slip. Four overs later Niroshan Dickwella became Holder’s fourth wicket, the Windies captain got him for the second time in the day. He was the Lankan’s highest run scorer in the first innings, but in the second innings he was out bowled trying to work a delivery well outside off-stump to the leg-side.
In the first session, the Lankan batsman were put under pressure immediately from the first over of the day. Shane Dowrich dropped a difficult catch when Dickwella attempted to flick a delivery angled at the body, but his Windies counterpart missed a low catch to his right.
In the seventh over of the day, Shannon Gabriel provided the first breakthrough, Roshen Silva played a lose drive only managing to get a thick edge through to Dowrich. The Windies Captain then picked up three of the next four wickets to fall. Miguel Cummins dismissed the last batsman and the home team bundled out the visitors for 154.
When the Windies batsmen came into bat, they had a lead of 50 runs and they had to bat out just six overs before the end of the first session. But an almighty batting collapse meant that they went into Tea at 13/3.
Under pressure Windies batsmen sunk further at the start of the second session, within ten overs of their innings they lost half their team with their score at 14.
Once again it was left to Holder and Shane Dowrich to save the Windies, but this time they added just 27 runs before Dowrich was dismissed attempting a pull from outside off stump, presenting an easy catch to captain Lakmal at mid-on.
Immediately after Dowrich’s wicket, Bishoo and Holder were dismissed. This made way for the potentially match-saving innings from Kemar Roach, his exciting 23* off 37 balls was only cut short by wickets falling at the other end.
The home team would be ruing their top order collapse, none of the top five got over 10 runs in the second innings. Miguel Cummins batting at 10 scored 14 runs, as many as all of the top five batsmen put together.
But Jason Holder’s late spell was able to wrest the game from Sri Lanka’s hands leaving them five down at the end of the day. With Kusal Perera injured, it could potentially be six wickets down. And if Shai Hope, who took the gloves in place of injured Dowrich, had held on to Kusal Mendis’ catch then this game would be completely in the control of the Windies.
As long as Mendis is there in the crease the scales look balanced, but both teams would want to get ahead when Sri Lanka start day four at 81/5.