Port of Spain - The West
Indies rode their luck through a challenging first day of the first
Test against Sri Lanka to reach 246 for six at stumps at the Queen's
Park Oval in Trinidad on Wednesday.
A 90-run sixth-wicket partnership between captain Jason Holder and
wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich was critical in wresting the
initiative from the tourists after they had chosen to bat first in
conditions that did not appear particularly taxing.
However the Sri Lankan seamers put in a tremendous effort on a
generally placid surface with Lahiru Kumara leading the way in claiming
three for 57 off 18 overs, including the important wicket of Holder for
40 just when it seemed the all-rounder was about to accelerate against a
tiring attack in a long final session marking the start of the
visitors' first-ever three-match Test series in the Caribbean.
Yet Dinesh Chandimal’s team had only themselves to blame for letting the home side off the hook after the tea interval.
Holder only added two runs after being badly missed by Roshen Silva
at second slip off Kumara, however the more expensive lapse had occurred
earlier when Dowrich, on 16, offered a straightforward chance to Angelo
Mathews at slip off Dilruwan Perera’s off-spin and the opportunity was
Relieved to have been granted that reprieve by Sri Lanka's former
captain, Dowrich played with exaggerated care thereafter and resumes on
the second morning on 46 in partnership with Devendra Bishoo, who batted
through the final 40 minutes of the day without getting off the mark.
Earlier, Devon Smith's return to international cricket after more than three years ended in disappointment at the start of the day.
Opening the batting with Kraigg Brathwaite, the 36-year-old
left-hander watched his partner depart in just the third over of the
match, caught behind off experienced seamer Suranga Lakmal.
Smith, who last represented the regional side against England in his
native Grenada in 2015, would have been especially keen to make an
But his ambitions were undone by sharp work from Chandimal whose
throw to the wicketkeeper from midwicket found the opener just short of
his ground after he was called through for a single by new batsman
Powell sought to impose himself in putting on 40 for the third wicket
with Shai Hope and looked to be getting on top of the bowlers when
Kumara struck his first blow, uprooting the upright left-hander's
leg-stump via the inside-edge.
Hope failed to take full advantage of two moments of good fortune,
falling to a leg-side wicketkeeper's catch off Kumara for 44. But it was
namesake seamer Lahiru Gamage who was left ruing opportunities lost.
On 29 just after the lunch interval, Hope chased a wide delivery and
edged a catch to Dickwella only to be reprieved by a no-ball call.
Hope and Roston Chase extended their fourth-wicket partnership to 54 when Kumara’s persistence finally paid off.
As expected, Rangana Herath played a bigger role at the bowling
crease in the day's second session and the most successful left-arm
spinner in Test history responded with the wicket of Chase for 38 via a
sharp catch by Mathews at slip when the batsman edged an attempted cut.
With the innings listing at 147 for five at that stage, the advantage
was certainly with the Sri Lankans before the resistance of Dowrich and
Holder, combined with the tourists' sloppy out-cricket, redressed the