Darren Bravo hits classy 80 but Windies lose crucial wickets

Colombo, Sri Lanka – Darren Bravo made a brilliant 80 but fell shortly before the close as Sri Lanka gained the upperhand over West Indies on the third day of the 2nd ERI Test match at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on Thursday. The polished left-hander played some superb shots – hitting six boundaries and four straight sixes – but was the second wicket for part-time off-spinner T.M. Dilshan at a crucial stage in the match.

At the close West Indies were 165-5 in reply to Sri Lanka’s 387-9 declared with play ending 52 minutes after tea due to bad light. The West Indies need another 23 runs to avoid the follow-on and overall trail by 222 runs. Bravo, in just his second Test innings innings, faced 129 balls in an impressive three-hour stay at the crease.

He added 83 for the fourth wicket with vice captain Brendan Nash, who made 29 before he misjudged the line of a ball from Dilshan and was adjudged leg-before. Two balls later Bravo played a big drive and spooned the ball to cover-point where Rangana Herath took a spectacular, diving catch inches off the turf. Bravo left the field crestfallen and the day’s play came to a halt moments later due to bad light.

The 21-year-old, who made 58 in the first Test, came to the crease after lunch when Adrian Barath fell cheaply. After the break Chris Gayle, who made a memorable triple century in the drawn first Test at Galle, fell for a run-a-ball 30. His pull shot off seamer Suranga Lakmal was well caught by Angelo Mathews at deep square leg. It was debutant Lakmal’s first Test and he celebrated by falling on the pitch.

Earlier in the day, the West Indies took four wickets and Sri Lanka added 93 runs to their overnight total before the declaration came. Fast bowler Kemar Roach ended with 5-100 – his second five-for in Test to move to 10 wickets in the series. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara (150) completed his 13th score of 150 runs or more in Tests before Darren Sammy had him well caught by Gayle at first slip.

Play will resume Friday at 9.45 am (12.15 am Eastern Caribbean Time/11.15 pm Thursday Jamaica Time). A minimum of 98 overs are scheduled for the day's play.

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