Sri Lanka vs Windies: Series drawn as Karunaratne steps up
April 3, 2021 10:54 am
Honours were shared at the end of the final Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
A return to form from Dimuth Karunararatne helped his side to a comfortable draw in the second Test, with the Sri Lanka captain scoring an impressive 75.
Chasing 377 to win, Sri Lanka resumed the day at 29/0 with the most positive result available to them looking to be the draw. The hosts’ hopes of victory were hurt by a wet outfield, with initial plans to start play at 9:30am scuppered and instead pushed back to 10:35.
Their pursuit of victory was further hindered just three overs into the day as the in-form Lahiru Thirimanne gloved a Shannon Gabriel (0/20) bouncer behind only to be granted a second chance as wicket-keeper Joshua Da Silva spilled the catch.
Thirimanne, with half-centuries from each of his three past innings, was on 17 at the time and the opening stand was only worth 38.
By the time the West Indies removed Thirimanne, the Sri Lankan opening stand was worth 101 and had soaked up more than 38 overs.
It was a stand dominated by Karunaratne; a captain under pressure after making just 16 runs across his first three innings of the series.
Starting the final day of the campaign on 11, he immediately looked in good touch, clipping Gabriel off his pads for four off the second delivery of the day.
Playing with equal measures of restraint and positivity, he hit six boundaries on his way to an 87-ball fifty that came on the cusp of lunch and left the West Indies needing to take 10 wickets in two sessions. Despite the solid start, Sri Lanka’s own chances of victory were all but over, with the tourists needing another 284 runs to win after lunch.
The second session saw the West Indies remove both openers but that was the only joy they would have for the day.
Thirimanne was the first man out, falling short of a fourth consecutive fifty as he was caught impressively by Rahkeem Cornwall at first slip off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph (1/33) for 39. It came shortly after a major blow to the West Indies’ cause, with Gabriel injuring a hamstring in the second over of the session.
When Kyle Mayers (1/5) trapped Karunaratne in front for 75 shortly before tea, the door was left slightly ajar for the West Indies, but a half-century from Oshada Fernando (66*) in the company of Dinesh Chandimal (10*) ensured the draw from there.
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was named Player of the Match for his first-innings century and second-innings 85, while Suranga Lakmal (11 wickets at 21.45) was crowned Player of the Series.