Sri Lanka gained a good psychological boost for next
week’s decisive third Test against the West Indies
to be played at Test cricket’s new venue in
Pallakele, Kandy when they set the tourists a target
of 202 to chase off 22 overs in the fourth innings
and grabbed the prize wicket of Chris Gayle cheaply
for three runs before the rain hit second Test
petered out into a draw at the R Premadasa Stadium
With five sessions of the Test lost due to bad
weather a draw seemed the most likely result and so
it was, but not before Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri
Lankan captain had sprung a surprise at the West
Indies by declaring his team’s second innings at
57-1 and setting them a target to chase in the
The plan worked to a point when part time spinner
Tillakaratne Dilshan who had displayed his skills as
a spinner in the first innings by grabbing two
wickets for four runs was given the honour to open
the bowling and he obliged with the big wicket of
Gayle who edged a catch to slip.
Ajantha Mendis who has been causing a few
problems to the West Indian batsmen in the series
picked up Adrian Barath’s wicket for eight and West
Indies were soon 11-2 in the sixth over. Darren
Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul defended stoutly
the next five overs with neither being able to get
off the mark and during that period West Indies
could add only one run through a Mendis no-ball.
“If it had gone the full distance of a Test match it
would have been great to see our spinners working on
it. We hardly played 2 1/2 days cricket on this
wicket and it’s almost turning square,” said
Sangakkara. “Sometimes you’ve got to take a gamble
on a wicket like this and it would have paid off. I
am sure of it had it gone the full five days.
declared mainly to gain a psychological advantage.
We had to try and get a couple of wickets back
especially we wanted to target Gayle to see if we
could get him out early. Dilshan bowled a beautiful
spell with the new ball and it was a great wicket at
the end for us,” he said.
“Dilshan always has that magic touch of picking up
wickets. He bowled four magnificent deliveries in
this game among others that were really good. He is
an exceptional performer in anything that he does.
He is a valuable asset.”
Gayle was dismissed in both innings for 30 and 3
after his monumental knock of 333 at Galle.
Following fourth day’s wash out West Indies resumed
their first innings in reply to Sri Lanka’s first
innings of 387-9 declared at 165-5 after lunch on
the fifth day when more rain had washed the entire
morning session yesterday.
Their first task was to reach the follow-on target
which they did through their overnight pair Dwayne
Bravo and Carlton Baugh before the spinners broke
through to bring a swift end to their innings for
243. Only Baugh put up any sort of resistance
reaching a fighting half-century before left-armer
Rangana Herath finally bowled him with a carrom ball
reminiscent of Mendis.
Herath captured three of the five wickets to fall
yesterday to end with figures of 3 for 76. Mendis
and Suranga Lakmal took the other two.
One of the positives to come out of the Test was
the discipline the bowlers showed in their line and
“The fast bowlers bowled tighter lines and executed
the game plans a lot better in this Test match,”
said Sangakkara. It doesn’t matter whether you have
the most talented players in the world its finally
you’ve got to go out there and stick to those basic
lines and lengths.
“Any fast bowler in the world for 100 years has
concentrated on line and length and any good ball is
a good ball to any batsman. Those are things you’ve
got to keep working on, not try to bowl magic
deliveries but good old fashioned line and length.”
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said, “We didn’t
play as well as we wanted to. It’s always difficult
when you are on and off the cricket field. Today it
looked like we wouldn’t have any play, but the
weather cleared up. That’s something as
professionals we have to master. It’s all well and
good that we are still in the series and we are
going into the third Test 0-0 and everything to play