Part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite took a career best six wickets for 29 runs off 11.3 overs to bowl Sri Lanka out for 206 in the second innings and set West Indies a series leveling target of 244 to chase on the third day of the second Test played at the P Sara Oval.
Braithwaite’s extraordinary performance in an unchanged spell only confirmed the way the pitch was playing. Apart from six overs of pace, the rest were all spin shared by Jomel Warrican, Devendra Bishoo and Brathwaite.
He came onto bowl in the 54th over with the Sri Lanka score at 146-4 and gradually eased into the Lankan batting to pick up the remaining six wickets.
Brathwaite who opens the West Indies batting had only three first-class wickets in his bag (including one in Tests) prior to his excellent bowling performance.
He found the P Sara Oval pitch to his liking with the extra bounce and turn and his performance was a bonus for his captain Jason Holder who otherwise would have had to rely on the spin of Warrican and Bishoo.
Brathwaite in some way made up superbly for the off-breaks of Marlon Samuels who has been sidelined after he was reported for an illegal bowling action in the first Test.
Sri Lanka’s last four wickets in the afternoon session added 39 runs with Angelo Mathews finishing top scorer with 46. He was ninth out at 206 attempting to play a reverse sweep off Brathwaite and top edging a catch to Jermaine Blackwood who also had a field day snapping up five catches at slips, equaling the West Indies record in an innings held jointly by Darren Sammy and Darren Bravo.
West Indies lost Brathwaite’s wicket for three trapped lbw by Dhammika Prasad before rain brought an early end to the session ten minutes before the tea break. Shai Hope was unbeaten on 17.
Scores: Sri Lanka 200 and 206 (Kaushal Silva 32, Kusal Mendis 39, Angelo Mathews 46. Milinda Siriwardana 42, Jerome Taylor 2/26, Kraigg Brathwaite 6/29)
West Indies 163 and 20-1 at tea.