Port of Spain - Shane Dowrich's second Test century put the
West Indies in control of the first Test against Sri Lanka as the home side
declared their first innings at 414 for eight before a period of hostile fast
bowling had the visitors struggling at 31 for three at stumps on day two at the
Queen's Park Oval on Thursday.
Captain Dinesh Chandimal and Roshen Silva will carry the
fight for the Sri Lankans into the third morning after Kemar Roach, Shannon
Gabriel and West Indies skipper Jason Holder claimed a wicket each to leave the
visitors in a desperate situation after just ten overs of their reply.
It was a particularly eventful passage of play for Holder as
he first completed a fine catch at third slip to remove opener Kusal Mendis off
Gabriel but then promptly dropped a sitter in the same position of the first
ball faced by Angelo Mathews.
Sri Lanka's former captain did not benefit from the reprieve
however as Holder took the ball himself to deliver what proved to be the final
over of an extended final session and with his second delivery had Mathews
taken low down by Roston Chase at third slip.
Chase had also shown a safe pair of hands at point to
account for the other opener, Kusal Perera, who wafted at the first delivery he
faced from Roach in the opening over of the Sri Lankan innings.
Sri Lanka's shell-shocked demeanour appeared to be the combined
result of the West Indies fast bowlers' assault and the resilience of the
hosts' lower-order batting built around an excellent unbeaten 125 by Dowrich.
His innings spanned over six hours and included 12 fours off
Yet it would not have been possible without the stubborn
support of Devendra Bishoo, who contributed 40 in a seventh-wicket stand of 102
and Roach, whose innings of 39 in an eighth-wicket partnership of 75, appeared
to thoroughly deflate the opposition.
In the face of mounting criticism over his continued place
in the team, Dowrich responded in the best possible manner with a determined
He reached the century-mark off the final ball before tea,
turning a delivery from Rangana Herath through square-leg and showed greater
adventure at the start of the final period of the day.
It was an innings that will nevertheless be remembered more
for its doggedness than the extravagance which he curtailed to a considerable
Dowrich's partnership with Bishoo began late on the first
day and continued deep into the afternoon session of day two when the
lower-order player eventually fell, senior seamer Suranga Lakmal taking a
deserved second wicket of the innings via a catch at gully by Silva as Bishoo
flashed once too often at the faster bowlers to again fall short of a maiden
With concerns over the fitness of Lakmal and champion
left-arm spinner Herath clearly hampering his ability to engage his bowling
resources as effectively as he wanted to, Chandimal employed his other options
Seamers Lahiru Gamage and Lahiru Kumara, who finished with
figures of four for 95, together with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera failed to
make any real impact on the overnight pair as batting conditions improved through
Rain had limited play to just 43 minutes in the morning
session during which time Dowrich and Bishoo added 22 runs without ever looking
to be in any real discomfort.
A brighter afternoon appeared to work in favour of the
batsmen as the bowlers failed to present any effective challenge.
That was until the West Indies fast bowlers got the new ball
in their hands and Sri Lanka's top-order wilted against an inspired home side.