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Mendis six for 70 leaves match in balance

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Ramesh Mendis who took his career best figures of 6 for 70 making a successful appeal (pix courtesy SLC)

Sri Lanka’s Ramesh Mendis the off spinner returned with career-best Test figures of 6 for 70 to bowl West Indies out for 253 with 49 runs lead while Sri Lankan were 46 for 2 wickets in the second innings at close of the third day’s play of the second Test played at Galle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

The morning session however had been a pleasant affair for the West Indies, with the visitors negotiating the Sri Lankan spinners with relative comfort, as they added 76 runs to their overnight total for the loss of just Nkrumah Bonner. However after 80 overs with second new ball Sri Lankan fought back strongly with spin trio Ramesh Mendis, Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama were leading to get wickets on this Galle pitch. Especially they found better lengths and in the process dried up the scoring after lunch. They were produced extra bounce by the new ball to make more pressure for the batters .

Skipper Kreigg Brathwaite and Nkrumah Bonner making a run during their 73 runs second wicket stand

Two overnight pair Skipper Kreigg Brathwaite and Nkrumah Bonner made a pleasant contribution to build up the innings with adding 73 runs second wicket stand while Mendis made first breakthrough of the day with taking Bonner’s wicket LBW for 35 runs which came in 95 balls with 2 fours. At lunch West Indies were 145 for 2 wickets .

The Opener Brathwaite who celebrated his 29 birthday yesterday completed his 23rd half century further added 25 runs stand with Shai Hope finally out for 72 in 185 balls. He struck 9 fours and the important breakthrough came out of Embuldeniya . Brathwaite went to forward defence but Embuldeniya’s ball proceeded to hit the top of middle stump to end the skippers innings. Mendis took charge of the proceedings from thereon. Roston Chase was the first to go, caught at leg slip by Charith Asalanka , before Hope joined him a few overs later, adjudged leg before. Two overs later experienced Jason Holder found himself rapped on the back pad and that was another important wickets at that stage. The following ball Joshua Da Silva the most successful batter with defensive mood on the first test was clean bowled with a duck but Mendis failed to get his hat trick at this moment. Kyle Mayers remained unbeaten on 36 off 64, and was threatening to grow the lead quickly, but was unfortunately ran out. However West Indies had a psychological advantage with 49 runs lead while Mendis who finished 6 for 70 the first five wickets haul in his Test career with good support from Embuldeniya and Jayawickrama who took two wickets each .

Sri Lankan openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka who made 106 runs stand on the first innings failed to make good start in the second innings with most successful batter Karunaratne was unfortunately run out for six runs with backward point fielder Kyle Mayers made a direct hit to depart Karunaratne while number three batter Oshada Fernando (14) also out with a unnecessary run out making Sri Lanka struggle at 46 for 2 at close. Facing a first innings deficit of 49 runs with two days to spare Sri Lanka gifted West Indies 2 top order wickets including Skipper Karunaratne via run out and this was very disappointed and also never expected in a Test match .This was the sixth instance of the first two wickets in a Test innings being run out . The last instance was by New Zealand against Bangladesh in Hamilton in 2009-10.

At the end of the day Sri Lanka still trail on three runs with opener Pathum Nissanka on remain 21 and Charirh Asalanka was unbeaten four runs and both pair have big responsibility to build up the innings today .

Thursday, December 2, 2021 – 01:00

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