Tue, 30 Nov 2021

Joshua fifty leads West Indies' resistance before lunch

ESPNCricInfo
25 Nov 2021, 17:43 GMT+10

Lunch West Indies 125 for 7 (Joshua 54, Bonner 42*) and 230 need another 219 runs to beat Sri Lanka 386 and 191 for 4 dec

Joshua da Silva dragged himself to a hard-earned half-century, while he and Nkrumah Bonner put up a 100-run seventh-wicket stand that raised West Indies' chances of drawing the Test. But late in the morning session, Lasith Embuldeniya ended the pair's almost 45-over defiance, taking da Silva's edge with a hard-spun delivery, and having him caught at slip.

West Indies have some batting left; Bonner was still fighting at lunch, and had Rahkeem Cornwall - who batted confidently in the first innings - for company. But their hopes still largely rest on the weather, on what has so far been a gloomy day. If rain does not intervene, Sri Lanka will feel confident their spinners can wangle out the three final wickets, on what is now a surface taking huge turn.

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Both Bonner and da Silva were resolute from the outset, even in the face of some testing Sri Lanka bowling. Bonner was largely content to wait for the scoring opportunities to come to him; da Silva more likely to look proactively for the singles, particular with his sweep, which he played often against the offspin of Ramesh Mendis in particular.

Still, on a track as treacherous as this, they needed good fortune to survive the first hour as well. There were edges that fell short of slip, aerial mis-hits that landed in space, deliveries that barely missed the stumps and the outside edge, and missed chances as well. da Silva could have been run out on 19 when the pair attempted a quick single, but the cover fielder's throw missed the stumps. He could have been caught on 23 when he inside-edged a big-spinning Mendis delivery, but Pathum Nissanka could not hold on to a tough chance at leg slip, diving to his right.

After the pair posted their half-century stand - which came off 154 balls - they batted more aggressively, Bonner punishing balls that strayed too far down leg, and da Silva even hitting a four back past the bowler. There was another difficult dropped chance - Nissanka failing to hold on to a difficult one-handed catch at short leg this time, as Bonner tried to drive Embuldeniya.

There were big lbw appeals too, with Embuldeniya hitting da Silva just in line with off stump, but failing to overturn the not out decision, after ball tracking suggested the impact - on both pad and stumps were "umpire's call". Two overs later, when Bonner was given out lbw against Ramesh Mendis, he reviewed successfully, the ball projected to have turned way down leg.

But the dismissal of da Silva deflated the West Indies' effort shortly before lunch. Embuldeniya dangled a loopy delivery outside off, tempted da Silva into a cut, and the resultant edge was lapped up by Dhananjaya de Silva at slip.

Cornwall saw out 21 deliveries before the break.

Joshua Da SilvaNkrumah BonnerSri LankaWest IndiesSri Lanka vs West IndiesWest Indies in Sri LankaICC World Test Championship

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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