Nkrumah Bonner lasted just six balls and failed to score a single run in the drawn 2nd Test at Antigua’s empty Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, ending up in the pavilion because of injury against Sri Lanka.
The Jamaican went from hero to zero for the West Indies, having hit an unbeaten 113 for his maiden first Test century in the previous match. But medium pacer Suranga Lakmal clean bowled him in the first innings and he didn’t feature in the next innings.
It was the turn of Kraigg Brathwaite, who steered the Windies to safety in the opening Test on his debut as newly-installed captain, to be the most influential player at the crease for the hosts. The opener finished the first day on an unbeaten 99 as the Windies reached 287-7, and was relieved to be one of four dropped catches after third slip Oshada Fernando failed to hold the ball that left left-arm fast bowler Vishwa Fernando visibly frustrated and disappointed.
The Barbados star, who had returned just a trio of half-centuries in his previous 16 innings over the past year, continued his fine work on day two to reach his ninth Test century before the pace of Dushmantha Chameera beat him. Braithwaite sent back to the pavilion with a respectable knock of 125.
Braithwaite, involved in a 103-run eighth wicket partnership with Antigua’s tail-ender Rakheem Cornwell (73), has been an influential figure for some time as he has now scored nine of the past ten centuries by a West Indies opener.
Lakman (4-94) and Chameera (3-69) did the damage with the ball to skittle the Windies out for a promising total of 354 on a batting wicket.
Initially the hosts’ bowlers were not so effective, Sri Lanka ending the second day at 136-3. The following day was rain affected with four enforced breaks, which concluded at 5pm with just 40.3 overs played to leave the tourists at 250-7.
The opening over on the next sunny day saw Cornwall drop Dinesh Chandimal, but the next time Trinidad & Tobago fast bowler troubled Chandimal (44) at least substitute fielder Hayden Walsh made no mistake that left Sri Lanka at 152-4.
Dhananjaya da Silva (39) was trapped lbw by Jamaica’s part-time off-spinner Jermaine Blackwood, six overs after the resumption following a 10-minute rain break. Surprisingly, there was no appeal to review the umpire’s decision and yet television replays indicated that the ball would have missed the leg stump.
An early lunch was called for, although a further 150-minute rain delay soon followed. Barbados all rounder Jason Holder, who lost his Test captaincy to Braithwaite, was easily the most threatening bowler as he cleverly mixed short and full deliveries yet finished with less than impressie figures of 2-39.
Just after 5pm a heavy shower put paid to the day’s play to leave the Windies firmly in command.
The following day it took under four overs to end the innings at 258, handing the Windies the breathing space of a 96-run lead after Barbados Kemar Roach (3-58) accounted for the wickets of Pathum Nissanka (51) and Vishwa Fernando (0).
Jamaican opener John Campbell (10) became the fourth day’s first victim, caught by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Lakmal at 14-1.
His compatriot Jermaine Blackwood was involved in a spot of controversy in the very next delivery when Sri Lanka appealed for leg before. Television replays indicated that the ball would have hit leg stump, but under the Decision Review System (DRS) the umpire’s call was favoured and so reprieved Blackwood.
The 29-year-old was living dangerously, dropped by Lahiru Thirimanne at first slip off Vishwa Fernando on seven. But it proved third time lucky for Sri Lanka when Dickwella held Blackwood (18) off Chameera to take the tally to 58-2.
Kyle Mayers (Barbados) survived Dhananjaya’s lbw appeal in the 29th over and benefited from the DRS after television replays proved that the ball would have hit the off bail. He went on to make 55, comprising eight boundaries, before Lakmal caught him leg before.
Brathwaite (85) seemed to be cruising to another century, but a rare lack of attention resulted in being clean bowled by Chameera for 227-4.
It was the explosive shots from Holder that stole the show, racing away to his half-century off 69 balls and reaching an unbeaten 71 with Da Silva (20), as the Windies declared at 280-4. In response, Sri Lanka tottered along to 29-0 at close of play.
The final day saw Alzarri Joseph (Antigua) and Mayers account for the openers to leave the score at 146-2 after 55.5 overs and the match looking like a dead cert of a draw.
The bowlers were simply unable to get the rub of the green and, coupled with a resilient 82-minute showing from Oshada Fernando (60no) and Dinesh Chandimal (10no), it came as no surprise that stumps were drawn early with Sri Lanka at 193-2 as the teams shared the Test series.
Despite Brathwaite shining with the bat, he was unable to table his inaugural Test success since being installed as captain in February. At least he prevented Sri Lanka from securing a first Test series win in the Caribbean.
Brathwaite beamed to the television cameras after the match: “We would have liked to have won, but I was very happy with the attitude we had and the discipline.
“Batting-wise we continue to bat a number of overs with 90-plus overs, which is a positive for us.
“There were good pitches in both Test matches, and the bowlers obviously worked hard. I was pleased that none of the guys ever gave up.”
The Windies are on a roll to extend their unbeaten Series run having defeated Sri Lanka in both the Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and One-Day Internationals (ODI) last month.
WEST INDIES v SRI LANKA (all played in Antigua)
3 March | 1st T20I (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 4 wickets
Sri Lanka 131-9 (20 overs), WI 134-6 (13.1 overs)
5 March | 2nd T20I (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
Sri Lanka beat WI by 43 runs
Sri Lanka 160-6 (20 overs), WI 117 all out (18.4 overs)
7 March | 3rd T20I (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets
Sri Lanka 131-4 (20 overs), WI 134-7 (19 overs)
10 March | 1st ODI (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets
Sri Lanka 232 all out (49 overs), WI 236-2 (47 overs)
12 March | 2nd ODI (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets
Sri Lanka 273-8 (50 overs), WI 274-5 (49.4 overs)
14 March | 3rd ODI (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets
Sri Lanka 274-6 (50 overs), WI 276-5 (48.3 overs)
21-25 March | 1st Test Match (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
WI drew with Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 169 all out (69.4 overs) & 476 all out (149.5 overs)
WI 271 all out (103 overs) & 236-4 (100 overs)
29 March-2 April | 2nd Test Match (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
WI drew with Sri Lanka
WI 354 all out (111.1 overs) & 280-4 declared (72.4 overs)
Sri Lanka 258 all out (107 overs) & 193-2 (79 overs)
Remember to share this article on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms. To submit your own articles or to advertise with us please send us an EMAIL at: [email protected]