Sri Lanka A take stranglehold of 2nd 'Test'

By Garfield Myers
Editor-at-Large South/Central Bureau

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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Florence Hall, Trelawny – Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara and middle order batsman Roshen Silva excelled to help Sri Lanka A maintain their iron grip on the second 'Test' against West Indies A at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium here yesterday.

Scores: Sri Lanka A 294 and 213-6; West Indies A 137.

Expertly exploiting worn spots on a pitch which dried out with extraordinary rapidity on the second day, Pushpakumara grabbed 6-52 as West Indies A resuming the day at 14-2 were bundled out shortly after Lunch giving the visitors a lead of 157.

Obviously not wishing to bat last on the wearing pitch, Sri Lanka A ignored the opportunity to impose the follow on and by the close of the day had extended their lead to 370 with four wickets still standing and two days remaining.

On a pitch, providing generous turn for spinners and unpredictable bounce for all bowlers, West Indies A will have to bat 'out of their skins' to save or win the game.

Silva, who missed the first Test which Sri Lanka A lost, piloted the visitors' second innings with skill and poise in difficult conditions to close the day on 85 not out. The 28-year-old, who entered the game with a first class average of 48.19, has so far stroked a six and two fours and faced 145 balls, having led a Sri Lanka A second innings recovery from 14-3 and 41-4.

Early in his innings, Silva received a fearful blow to the helmet from the 20-year-old speedster Oshane Thomas. A frightened hush descended on the small crowd as pieces of the shattered head gear fell around the batsman and the sound from the impact echoed around the ground. However, Silva showed no ill-effects and carried on – taking evasive action against Thomas's bouncers with text book technique.

When play resumed yesterday, Pushpakumara was immediately among the wickets removing nightwatchman Damion Jacobs (4) and left-handed Vishaul Singh, (0) — bowled between bat and pad – with consecutive deliveries.

He followed up with the wicket of Jahmar Hamilton (8) – the wicketkeeper yet again batting ahead of Sunil Ambris — bowled, as the right-hander attempted an ugly swipe as West Indies A tottered at 27-5.

The tall pacer, Kasun Rajitha (27) who found impressive swing, sent back West Indies A captain Shamarh Brooks (11) at 55-6. By then first Test centurion Sunil Ambris with a 38-ball 29 was pushing back the visitors with aggressive stroke play. But when he was adjudged LBW to Ajitha Fernado at 69-7 West Indies A seemed doomed to dismissal for less than three figures.

However, Rahkeem Cownwall with a 45-ball 46 (five fours, one six) and Sheldon Cottrell (18) brought some semblance of respectability with a stand of 65. But when Cornwall fell shortly after lunch, the innings fell away quickly.

Sri Lanka A with a first innings lead of 157 started their second innings disastrously losing Sandun Weerakkudy (2) miscuing a hook off Cottrell, captain Dhananjaya de Silva (1) and the lefthanded Charith Asalanka (1) – both swinging across the line against Cornwall's offspin - as the visitors stumbled to 14-3. It became 38-4 when Thomas (1-42) finding swing at searing pace bowled Ron Chandraguptha (14) off the inside edge.

However, Silva found willing partners in Shehan Jayasuriya, run out for 33, and the hard hitting first innings centurion Dasun Shanaka (60) to ensure Sri Lanka A maintained their stifling hold on the game. By the time he was stumped by wicketkeeper Hamilton as he charged Cornwall, Shanaka had hit a six and three fours and faced 85 balls – adding 105 for the sixth wicket with Silva.

Wanidu Hasaranga, seven, is set to resume with Silva today. Cornwall closed the day with 3-70.




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