By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
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 for the Sobers-Tissera trophy.
However West Indies’ run chase was cut short after nine overs by rain which came down ten minutes before the tea break and forced the umpires to abandon play for the day.
At stumps West Indies were 20 for the loss of Brathwaite’s wicket for three. He was trapped lbw by Dhammika Prasad leaving Shai Hope unbeaten on 17.
West Indies require another 224 runs for victory with nine wickets in hand and two days play remaining.
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.
Sri Lanka leads the two-match series 1-0.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 200
WEST INDIES 1ST INNINGS 163
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS
D Karunaratne c Bishoo b Taylor 0
K Silva c Blackwood b Warrican 32
K Mendis c Ramdin b Warrican 39
D Chandimal c Ramdin b Taylor 12
A Mathews c Blackwood b Brathwaite 46
M Siriwardana c Blackwood b Brathwaite 42
K Perera c Ramdin b Brathwaite 5
R Herath c Blackwood b Brathwaite 18
D Perera c Roach b Brathwaite 7
D Prasad not out 1
N Pradeep c Blackwood b Brathwaite 0
Extras (b-2, lb-2) 4
Total (all out, 75.3 overs) 206
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Karunaratne), 2-55 (Mendis), 3-84 (Silva), 4-84 (Chandimal), 5-151 (Siriwardana), 6-165 (K Perera), 7-195 (Herath), 8-203 (D Perera), 9-206 (Mathews), 10-206 (Pradeep).
Bowling: Taylor 8-3-26-2, Roach 6-1-15-0, Holder 5-1-9-0, Warrican 25-2-62-2, Bishoo 20-3-61-0, Brathwaite 11.3-4-29-6.
WEST INDIES 2ND INNINGS
K Brathwaite lbw b Prasad 3
S Hope not out 17
Total (one wicket at close, 9 overs) 20
Fall of wicket: 1-20 (Brathwaite).
Bowling: Prasad 5-2-4-1, Pradeep 1-0-8-0, Herath 3-1-8-0.
PICTURES BY ISHARA KODIKARA