Sri Lanka make inroads as West Indies chip away at deficit


Visitors go into lunch on the third day 171 runs behind with two first-innings wickets in hand

Lunch West Indies 215 for 8 (Mayers 45, Brathwaite 41, Holder 36, Cornwall 33*, Da Silva 9*, Jayawickrama 3-38, Mendis 3-75) trail Sri Lanka 386 by 171 runs

Sri Lanka would have come in to the third day of the Galle Test hoping to establish a handsome first-innings lead, but West Indies ended up executing their plans better than the hosts for large parts of the morning session. Despite that, Sri Lanka are in a strong position, with Rahkeem Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva in the middle of a 40-run partnership, with West Indies still 171 runs behind.
In the morning, the overnight pair of Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers put together a 63-run partnership off 103 deliveries, before West Indies were thwarted by some outstanding work in the field by Sri Lanka.
The first was courtesy skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who threw himself to his weaker right side from short-extra cover to catch an attempted drive that Mayers could only pop up. The next was down to excellent work by Dushmantha Chameera at point, diving full stretch to hold on to a cut that Holder couldn’t keep down.

Both wickets came about as a result of the extra bounce extracted off a length by Sri Lanka’s spinners, though for large parts of the morning, West Indies were able to ward off any demons the pitch may have held with relative ease.

Indeed, save for the two dismissals, West Indies scarcely played a false shot all morning.

Holder was responsible for the two best shots of the session, a pair of sumptuous drives through cover, while Mayer was quick to pounce on anything short, frequently employing the cut. The aggression shown by the pair also resulted in the spinners, who had started the morning happy to toss it up, bowling increasingly flatter trajectories. This helped the pair turn over the strike, working the ball comfortably on either side of the wicket.

Following their dismissals, Da Silva and Cornwall have continued with a similar outlook, and looked more or less comfortable doing it, aside from an extremely tough chance that went down in the slips.

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