Sri Lanka 136 for 3 (Thirimanne 55) trail West Indies 354 (Brathwaite 126, Cornwall 73, Lakmal 4-94, Chameera 3-69) by 218 runs
Antigua: A century from Kraigg Brathwaite proved the backbone of a strong first innings for the West Indies but Sri Lanka are firmly in the contest after another fifty from Lahiru Thirimanne.
Sri Lanka reached stumps at 136/3 trailing by 218 after bowling the West Indies out for 354 earlier in the day.
With Dinesh Chandimal (34*) and Dhanajaya de Silva (23*) both well set, the Sri Lankans will be hoping to take a key first-innings lead.
Having played within himself with plenty of success in the first Test, Thirimanne started his innings in the second Test with notably more positivity. He opened his account with a drive through mid-off for four in the innings’ first over from Roach (1/39).
With his captain and opening partner Dimuth Karunaratne struggling at the other end, Thirimanne looked to keep the pressure on the West Indies’ attack, hitting another boundary in the sixth over off Shannon Gabriel (0/28).
While Thirimanne was seeing them well, Karunaratne (1) was struggling to get going. Having scored a single off the first ball he faced, he had since been kept scoreless for 15 balls. On the 16th he edged Alzarri Joseph (1/31) to the cordon, where he was caught spectacularly. Diving full length to his right at third slip, Nkrumah Bonner pulled in the catch with his right hand at full stretch.
Despite the loss of Karunaratne, Sri Lanka reached the tea break in the reasonably strong position of 60/1, with Thirimanne closing in on a half-century following a flurry of boundaries towards the end of the session.
Earlier, the day started on a positive note for the West Indies as Brathwaite brought up his first Test century as captain on the second ball of the morning session.
It was a welcome return to form for the opener, who had not scored a century since 2018.
Having gone to sleep on 99, he put any nerves to bed at the start of the day by nudging Suranga Lakmal (4/94) down to fine leg for a single to reach the milestone in 241 deliveries. The 28-year-old has now scored nine Test centuries and he is the only West Indies opener to have scored a hundred in the format since Chris Gayle in 2013.
In the very next over the Sri Lankans thought they had their man as Brathwaite edged Vishwa Fernando (1/71) to second slip. However, umpire Joel Wilson suspected it was a bump-ball and the third umpire quickly confirmed as much.