Sri Lanka need just 63 runs to level the series against the West Indies… but they have only five wickets in hand.
Sri Lanka started the day five wickets down in their first innings and by close of play they were still five wickets down… although that was in their second innings. Twenty wickets tumbled during a nightmarish day for the batsmen as the West Indies fell for 93 in their second innings after Sri Lanka were rumbled for 154 in their first innings.
Without question, the third and final Test between the Windies and Sri Lanka has been one for the bowlers and the script followed a similar path on the third day in Barbados as 20 wickets fell in rapid succession. A riveting spell by the Sri Lankan pacers orchestrated a spectacular collapse as the Windies were skittled for just 93 in their second innings, but Jason Holder picked up four wickets to end the third day’s play in the day-night Test with both teams in with a sniff.
Chasing 144 for a win, Sri Lanka were 81/5 after 24 overs before another bout of rain brought an early end to proceedings. Kusal Mendis was unbeaten on 25 and had Dilruwan Perera for company on one. Sri Lanka still need 63 runs to finish the three-match series with honours even.
Extraordinary stuff here at the Kensington Oval as the Windies are skittled for 93! Sri Lanka require 144 to win this match and tie the series. It doesn't get much more tense than this. Scintillating stuff in Barbados! ????
— ICC (@ICC) June 26, 2018
Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, they don’t know yet if Kusal Perera will bat in the second innings. The top-order batsman had to be stretchered off for scans after crashing into the advertising hoardings while attempting a catch and according to the last updates, was under observation in the hospital.
Resuming the day on 99/5 in their first innings after the Windies had scored 204, Sri Lanka added just 55 runs to concede a handy lead of 50 on a spicy Kensington Oval surface.
Shannon Gabriel struck the first blow, getting Roshen Silva to edge an out-swinger straight into the hands of Shane Dowrich behind the stumps.
Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera held the fort for a while adding 29 runs for the seventh wicket. Dickwella, who started the day on 25, was his usual flamboyant self and hit four boundaries. But his luck soon ran out when he presented Devon Smith with a simple catch at second slip off Holder. He was gone for 42 with the scoreboard reading 147/7.
It didn’t take long for the Windies to wrap up the innings after that, with Holder snapping up Suranga Lakmal and Kasun Rajitha in quick succession. The last wicket fell courtesy of a run out as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 154.
Holder was the pick of the Windies bowlers, returning with 4/19 in 16 overs, while Gabriel and Kemar Roach finished with three and two wickets respectively.
The Windies second innings then got off to a poor start with Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara wreaking havoc on the hosts’ top-order to reduce them to 14/5 inside the first eight overs.
Smith was the first one to go, inside-edging a Lakmal in-swinger onto his stumps, for a duck. Lakmal, leading Sri Lanka following the ban on Dinesh Chandimal, then accounted for Kraigg Brathwaite as well, the opener deflecting a ball on to his thigh pad and the catch carrying to Rajitha at forward short-leg.
Kumara then got into the act, sending Shai Hope’s off-stump into a spin and then getting Kieran Powell to edge one to Dickwella behind the stumps.
Dowrich (16) and Holder (15) hung around for a 27-run stand for the seventh wicket before Rajitha struck thrice. He first got rid of Dowrich, who spooned a simple catch to Lakmal at mid-on, and then bowled Devendra Bishoo with a cracking in-dipper for a two-ball duck. Things became worse for the hosts when the fast bowler got Holder to poke at one outside off with Kusal Perera at second slip making no mistake as the Windies slipped to 56/8.
Roach (23) and Miguel Cummins (14), however, managed to stretch the innings by adding 26 for the ninth wicket before the latter fell to Dilruwan Perera.
It was then that Kusal Perera picked up the horrific-looking injury. Gabriel, the last man, whacked Dilruwan Perera to long-on, where Kusal Perera ran across to take the catch. However, even as the ball sailed over for six, his momentum took him over the ropes and he fell face first into the hoardings. An ambulance had to be called, and he was stretchered off for treatment.
The dinner break was taken, and proceedings ended soon after Gabriel’s run out. It was advantage Sri Lanka then, but Roach drew first blood trapping Mahela Udawatte in front of the stumps for a six-ball duck.
It was all Holder v Sri Lanka after that. The Windies captain kept it on and around off stump, and accounted for Danushka Gunathilaka (21), Dhananjaya de Silva (17), Silva (one) and Dickwella (six), and though Sri Lanka are close to their target, the Windies will hope to keep the pressure up on the fourth morning.
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