On a pitch with bounce and seam movement, Sri Lanka was tottering at 60 for 3 in 19 overs when rain arrived to bring the curtains down on the day’s play on Sunday (July 7) at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain. Play will resume on Monday, the reserve day, with Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne trying to rebuild after the initial strikes by the West Indian bowlers.
Kieron Pollard, who was leading West Indies following Dwayne Bravo’s one-match suspension due to slow over-rate, won the toss and elected to bowl first on a pitch that had a greenish tinge and also keeping the weather in mind. Sri Lanka dropped Kusal Perara and Rangana Herath and brought in Jeevan Mendis and Shaminda Eranga. West Indies was forced to make two changes – Jason Holder for the injured Sunil Narine and Devon Smith for Bravo, and decided to bench Denesh Ramdin and include Lendl Simmons, with Johnson Charles handed the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
The decision to use Charles backfired early however, as he dropped Upul Tharanga in the third over of the innings. The inconsistency of West Indies’ opening bowlers continued as Roach was erratic, but Holder troubled the batsmen with the steepling bounce he extracted off the surface. The damage from Charles’ drop wasn’t too costly, as Darren Bravo pulled off a blinder at backward point to send a visibly troubled Tharanga back to the pavilion.
Soon, Roach found his rhythm and radar. The pace off the pitch proved too much for Mahela Jayawardene as he top-edged a pull and Sri Lanka was precariously placed at 19 for 2 in the fifth over. Roach seamed one sharply through the bat-pad gap of Dinesh Chandimal, and Sri Lanka was in full rebuilding mode at 29 for 3. Sangakkara and Thirimanne then watchfully shepherded the innings without further damage. The rain arrived shortly after the first drinks break, and play was stopped.
After two and a half hours of rain that soaked the outfield, play was called off for the day and Sri Lanka will resume its innings on the reserve day on Monday. With a match against India on Tuesday as well, Sri Lanka faces a tough schedule in its attempt to seal a spot in the final.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles (wk), Devon Smith, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard (c), Darren Sammy, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Tino Best.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga.
(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)