NORTH SOUND, Antigua (AP) — Left hanging on 99 overnight, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite completed his ninth test century on Tuesday to place his team in a strong position at stumps on the second day of the second cricket test against Sri Lanka.
Brathwaite needed only two balls at the start of the day to reach his first century since July 2018. He worked the second ball from Suranga Lakmal to fine leg for a single to also complete his first hundred as West Indies captain from 241 balls with 11 fours.
Brathwaite was the 16th player in test history to be stranded on 99 overnight and he maintained a streak as all 16 have been converted into hundreds. He has now scored nine of the last 10 centuries by a West Indies opener.
Brathwaite’s 103-run eighth-wicket partnership with Rahkeem Cornwall helped the West Indies to 354 as it batted first after losing the toss. At stumps, Sri Lanka was 136-3, 218 runs behind.
Lahiru Thirimanne followed his scores of 70 and 76 in the first test with 55 which provided solidity at the top of the Sri Lanka order. Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva then batted through 25 overs in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership which was worth 59 runs at stumps when Chandimal was 34 not out and de Silva 23.
De Silva survived a confident appeal for caught behind off Cornwall’s bowling two balls before stumps. He attempted to pull a flighted delivery and there was a clear noise as the ball passed the bat down the leg side.
The umpire rejected Sri Lanka’s appeal for a catch behind and the West Indies called for a review. Replays showed a clear spike as the ball passed the bat. But the television umpire, matching different replay angles with the audio evidence, ruled correctly that the sound didn’t come from the ball hitting the bat.
Jason Holder, who was replaced by Brathwaite as captain, played a major role in encouraging the West Indies players late in the day.
“It’s been a pretty docile wicket so far so we’ve got to try and motivate ourselves,” Holder said. “I took it upon myself to try to encourage the guys and ensure we kept going through the entire innings today.
“It was a pretty good effort from the bowlers so far, not a wicket on which you can just blast people out.”
Holder said the match is closely balanced after two days.
“It’s pretty even-stevens,” he said. “We’ve got two set batsmen at the crease at the moment. Our bowlers toiled very hard, we’re still 60 overs in; maybe if we can grab one of two more wickets before the second new ball then I believe we’ll be pretty much in the game.”
The day began with high anticipation of Brathwaite’s century and he didn’t keep fans waiting.
Cornwall, 43 not out overnight, reached his half century with a four off Lakmal, from 64 balls with eight fours and a six.
Brathwaite survived a confident appeal for lbw when he was 102. Sri Lanka’s appeal was rejected. Replays showed the ball just clipping leg stump.
The century partnership between Brathwaite and Cornwall came from 185 balls with Cornwall contributing 72.
Cornwall had reached a new high score, 73, when he mistimed a drive off Lakmal and provided a gentle, lobbed catch to Vishwa Fernando and mid-off.
Brathwaite stepped up his scoring rate, hitting Lakmal and Dushmantha Chameera to the boundaries at mid-off and mid-on in the next two overs.
He enjoyed a brief stand with Kemar Roach who was out for 9, caught by Niroshan Dickwella off Chameera, giving the wicketkeeper his fifth catch of the innings.
Brathwaite batted through the West Indies innings and was the last man out at 354, dragging a ball from Chameera onto his stumps to end his 514-minute stay at the crease.
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