Honours even after intriguing session but West Indies just 97 behind
Lunch West Indies 72 for 2 (Campbell 27*, Embuldeniya 1-9) trail Sri Lanka 169 by 97 runs
Sri Lanka’s bowlers were patient and disciplined, but so were West Indies’ batsmen on a sedate but intriguing second morning of the first Test in which two wickets were lost and 59 runs were scored in 24 overs.
The Antigua surface continued to offer significant seam movement as well as bounce and carry, but opener John Campbell in particular was watchful almost in the extreme, ambling from 7 off 44 balls overnight to 27 not out from 116 by lunch. Nkrumah Bonner, who partnered Campbell for much of the session, was a little more positive, making 31 off 63 before being trapped lbw by Lasith Embuldeniya shortly before the end of the session. The pair put on 56 runs together, and their partnership yielded each of the West Indies innings’ eight boundaries.
It was Suranga Lakmal who separated the overnight pair of Kraigg Brathwaite and Campbell in the third over of the morning when he drew Brathwaite into playing away from the body, and had him edge an away-seamer to second slip. Lakmal had plugged away relentlessly outside off stump to the right-handers, frequently making batsmen play-and-miss as he shaped the ball away off the seam. His first two overs of the day were maidens – including one wicket maiden – while left-armer Vishwa Fernando also began with a pair of maidens from the other end.
In fact, all of Sri Lanka’s bowlers were accurate with none conceding three runs an over. Dushmantha Chameera – the quickest on show – came closest, going at 2.87 from his eight overs in the innings so far but that was partly due to a couple of streaky boundaries off the blade of Bonner. Chameera should have had Bonner out much earlier in the session too, when he had him caught off the outside edge at gully for 17. But he had very marginally overstepped, and a no-ball was called.
The visitors eventually got Bonner – almost 11 overs later – when he played across the line to an Embuldeniya delivery and was struck inside the crease and above the knee roll. This looked close when Bonner chose to review, as Embuldeniya was gained significant bounce with a chance that the ball maybe projected to be bouncing over the stumps. But the decision remained with the on-field umpire and West Indies suffered a setback in the over before lunch. Still, they are only 97 runs behind with eight wickets in hand, and remain favourites to establish a strong first-innings lead.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf