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Brathwaite Takes Six To Leave Test Delicately Poised

  • Sri Lanka vs West Indies Second Test – P Sara Stadium

Brathwaite is congratulated by team mates after his sensational spell of 6-29

West Indies had a surprise bowling hero as Kraigg Brathwaite grabbed a career best six-wicket haul to trigger a dramatic batting collapse of hosts Sri Lanka and leave the Second and final test delicately poised after the third day’s play at the P. Sara Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

When rain ended play early for the day, West Indies needing 244 for a victory to square the two-match test series, were 20 for one wicket – 224 runs adrift of an incredible victory.

Despite the inclement weather which may well have the final say, the chances of a result are still good as 31 wickets have fallen in the first three days and there are two more days still left to play.

Brathwaite a part time off spinner with just one test wicket for 137 in his career, turned the game on its head with figures of six for 29 – the second best by a West Indian against Sri Lanka – to spark a familiar batting collapse by the hosts to crash from 151 for four to 206 all out – losing their last six wickets for just 55 runs.

Coming into the attack as the sixth bowler in the 54th over of the innings with the hosts’ fifth wicket pair of skipper Angelo Mathews and Milinda Siriwardena threatening to take control of the game, Brathwaite grabbed all six remaining wickets in an unchanged spell of 11.3 overs as Sri Lanka’s recent  woes against spin were exposed once again.

Brathwaite’s first over was a maiden to Mathews and he struck with the first ball of his second over when he induced an edge from Siriwardena which was smartly caught by Jermaine Blackwood at slip.

Siriwardena who top scored in the first innings made another effective contribution with 42, sharing a fifth wicket stand of 67 with his skipper.

Kusal Perera made five off 11 balls before he was dismissed on the stroke of lunch via a brilliant catch by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin to give Brathwaite his second wicket.

After lunch, Rangana Herath made a quick 18 with three fours and added 30 for the seventh wicket with Mathews before the Blackwood- Brathwaite combination ended his innings.

At 195 for seven the hosts did not look to good but with their skipper at the wicket there was still hope of stretching their lead.

However, with wickets continuing to fall at the other end, Mathews was the ninth batsmen to be dismissed and became Brathwaite’s fifth victim when his attempted reverse sweep went horribly wrong.

Last man Nuwan Pradeep lasted just one ball to complete a pair for the match.

Brathwaite was soon in action again – this time in the more accustomed role of opening batsman. However he could not continue his magic and had made only three in an opening stand of 20 when he was trapped lbw by Dhamika Prasad in what turned out to be the last ball for the day.

Today’s first session will be a crucial one as both teams attempt to wrest control of the test and push for victory. The hosts will hope to make some early inroads whilst the visitors will need to occupy the crease and bat steadily and build partnerships on a wicket that is certain to aid the home side’s spinners.

 

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