Javagal Srinath Chandika Hathurusingha Asanka Gurusinha-West-Indies-Sri-Lanka
Match referee Javagal Srinath in discussion with Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha © AFP

Sri Lanka agreed to keep playing the second Test against West Indies on Saturday “under protest” after getting caught up in a ball-tampering row. Play only resumed after a two-hour delay when the Sri Lankans, led by Dinesh Chandimal, had refused to take the field following a decision by umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould to charge the tourists with altering the state of the ball during the latter stages of the second day’s play. Sri Lanka were assessed 5 penalty runs although that relatively minor punishment was inconsequential compared to the their obvious anger at being accused of what amounts to cheating.

Animated discussions ensued involving match referee Javagal Srinath and the Sri Lankan pair of coach Chandika Hathurusingha and team manager Asanka Gurusinha. However, it was after these deliberations that the Sri Lankans agreed to the change of ball and to continue playing.

But after initially appearing to be prepared to resume the match, the Sri Lankans hesitated even as they were making their way out to the middle, resulting in further discussions before they were finally persuaded to get the day’s play underway two hours later than scheduled.

It was communication with the team’s board in Colombo which finally persuaded Chandimal and his men to continue with the match.

For their part, ICC reserved the right to take punitive action.

 

When play eventually resumed, Sri Lanka fought well to limit the West Indies first innings lead to 47 runs as the hosts, who started the day at 118 for 2, lost their last 6 wickets for 59 runs to be dismissed in the final session for 300.

Lahiru Kumara was again their most outstanding bowler, constantly threatening with his pace and aggression to finish with figures of 4 for 86 and lift his wicket tally to 11 halfway through the series. Opening batsman Devon Smith top scored with a painstaking 61 while Shane Dowrich, fresh from a match-winning unbeaten century in the first Test in Trinidad, contributed 55.

It was Dowrich’s 78-run fifth-wicket partnership with Roston Chase (41) which threatened to earn the West Indies a significant first-innings advantage.

However, Kumara removed Chase in the first over with the second new ball and that opened the door for the Sri Lankans to significantly restrict the progress of the Caribbean side’s often resilient lower order. Shannon Gabriel, as he has done in every innings so far in this series, claimed an early wicket in the Sri Lanka second innings when Kusal Perera fell to a catch by Dowrich in the penultimate over of the day.

Barring any other dramatic overnight developments, the visitors will resume on 34 for 1, needing just another 13 to erase the first innings deficit with debutants Mahela Udawatte and Kasun Rajitha, doing the job of night-watchman, at the crease.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 253 (Dinesh Chandimal 119*; Kemar Roach 4 for 49, Shannon Gabriel 5 for 59) and 34 for 1 trail West Indies 300 (Devon Smith 61, Shane Dowrich 55; Kasun Rajitha 3 for 49, Lahiru Kumara 4 for 86) by 13 runs.