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Sri Lanka 65-1 chasing daunting West Indies win target

Kieran Powell top scored for West Indies with 88 before captain Jason Holder declared for the second time in the Test
AFP

Port of Spain (AFP) – Sri Lanka lost an early wicket and saw their captain curtail his innings because of an apparent illness as they reached the tea interval at 65 for one on Saturday chasing a daunting victory target of 453 by the West Indies.

Having pushed the lead beyond the 400-run mark in the morning session on the fourth day of the first Test at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad when they lost three wickets, including Kieran Powell for a top score of 88, the home side batted for an additional 15 minutes in the afternoon session before Jason Holder declared the innings at 223 for seven.

It was the first time since the drawn 1985 fixture against New Zealand in Georgetown, Guyana that the West Indies had declared in both innings of a Test match.

Shannon Gabriel struck an early blow in the West Indian push for victory when Kusal Perera attempted to play a full-length delivery to the on-side only to get a thick edge for Devon Smith to claim a comfortable catch at first slip.

They could have been in deeper trouble shortly after but Holder declined to seek a television referral of a not out verdict to a confident appeal for a catch by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off Gabriel when the other opener, Kusal Mendis, was on six.

Replays showed the batsman getting a thin edge onto the ball.

Mendis has so far made the most of the reprieve in getting to 24 not out, looking comfortable at the crease to both the pacers and spinners.

Angelo Mathews had to hasten to the middle when Dinesh Chandimal, who had replaced Perera and was batting confidently on 15, went down on his knees apparently feeling unwell.

After some attention, he left the field with the former skipper joining Mendis and taking Sri Lanka to the interval without any additional alarms.

Most of the attention in the morning session surrounded the prospect of Powell reaching a fourth Test century.

Impressing with his elegant stroke play in reaching 64 overnight, the left-hander looked well on course to reach three figures in partnership with the first innings century-maker Dowrich.

However, fast-medium bowler Lahiru Kumara had different ideas and trapped Dowrich lbw on the back foot to earn his seventh wicket of the match.

Holder replaced his fellow-Barbadian, putting on 42 for the sixth wicket with Powell. It seemed only a matter of time before the Nevisian got to his century but an error of judgement brought an end to his innings as he failed to get to the pitch of an attempted leg-side flick off spinner Dilruwan Perera and substitute fielder Jeffrey Vandersay took a good catch diving forward at midwicket.

Holder’s was the final wicket of the innings to fall, leg-before for 39 attempting a reverse sweep at Rangana Herath, giving the veteran left-arm spinner his second victim of the innings.

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