West Indies 287 for 7 (Brathwaite 99*, Lakmal 3-71) vs Sri Lanka
Antigua: A fighting knock from Kraigg Brathwaite saw the West Indies and Sri Lanka end day one of the second Test on equal footing.
Brathwaite stood tall to reach stumps not out on 99 with a tough night's sleep ahead of him. At the other end, Rahkeem Cornwall was on 43 with the West Indies 287/7 at the close of play after being sent out to bat.
The opener showed plenty of gumption through day one, holding his nerve as wickets fell regularly around him.
It was Suranga Lakmal (3/71) who again played tormenter-in-chief to the West Indies top order. Hitting a consistent line and length outside off-stump, the seamer opened with three straight maidens before striking in clinical fashion.
Eventually, the pressure told as Lakmal ended his fourth straight maiden over with the wicket of John Campbell, caught behind for five.
Nkrumah Bonner, fresh from his first Test century, was next in Lakmal’s crosshairs. The No.3 edged short of the slips and he missed two outswingers before misjudging a delivery angling in towards his off-stump and playing on for the first duck of his young Test career.
Lakmal was hugely unlucky not to add Kyle Mayers to his hit list in the sixth over as he saw a good length delivered edged and put down in the slips by a diving Pathum Nissanka on just 12. It was one of three dropped catches from the Sri Lankans for the day.
Brathwaite and Mayers continued to look uneasy against Lakmal but started to rebuild together, picking up runs off Lasith Embuldeniya (1/79) and bringing up the fifty-run partnership off Dushmantha Chameera’s first delivery in the 21st over. The pair saw out the morning session at 86/2.
Having experienced a few strokes of fortune to reach 49, Mayers’ luck ran out on the third ball of the second session when he nicked Vishwa Fernando (1/59) behind to Niroshan Dickwella in the 28th over.
Looking to shift the tide, Jermaine Blackwood came out swinging, hitting Lakmal for a four and a six in the 29th over. He hit one more boundary off the Sri Lankan seamer before Lakmal got his revenge, drawing an outside edge from Blackwell (18) and a diving catch from Dickwella.
It should have been worse for the hosts as well, with Brathwaite enjoying a life on 37 off the bowling of Fernando, dropped at third slip shortly before Blackwood’s fall.
In the company of Jason Holder, he raised his half-century off 116 deliveries. The veteran duo raced to a fifty-run stand in just 64 deliveries, with Holder scoring at close to a run-a-ball. The all-rounder hit five fours in his 34-ball stay before falling to Dhananjaya de Silva (1/16) for 30.