Shared News | Last updated on Tue, 26 Jun, 2018, 08:39 AM
Holder not only got the move the ball in the air, but to his credit stuck to difficult lines and lengths to mount the pressure on the batsmen.
Some exceptional swing bowling display helped Windies set up a cracking series-deciding day after they were shot down for just 93 in the second innings on the third day of the final Test in Barbados on Monday (June 25). Sri Lanka ended the day on 81 for 5, still 63 shy of the target, after Holder single-handedly kept his team in the hunt with figures of 4 for 21.
Windies started the day well when they kept Sri Lanka to 154 and gained a handy 50-run lead. The visitors started slowly, but it was Niroshan Dickwella’s positive approach that got the runs flowing. However, with Roshen Silva struggling from the other end, there was too much pressure on the ‘keeper-batsman. Silva, unsurprisingly, fell first when he tried to drive away from the body and was caught behind for 11 after a 53-ball stay.
Sri Lanka were 118 for 6 and that’s when the Holder show began as the Windies captain picked up the last four wickets plugging the scoreboard movement while at it. Dickwella, however, fell in the 54th over after a 72-ball 42 and the remaining two wickets could add just seven more to the total. Things, though, went pear-shaped pretty quickly for the hosts from there on.
Suranga Lakmal picked up two wickets as Windies went into Tea at 9 for 3 in all sorts of trouble. Soon after the break, they were reduced to 14 for 5 – their worst ever start in the history of Test cricket. Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder tried to resurrect the innings – like they did in the first innings – but their association fetched just 26 runs before the former was dismissed.
With the pitch offering plenty of assistance, the pink ball swaying to mesmerise and with a fragile batting line-up – Windies had a deadly cocktail in front of them. Their batsmen failed to apply themselves and were found out in testing conditions as the Sri Lankan pacers made merry to reduce them 88 for 9.
However, just when, it seemed, things were going to plan for Sri Lanka, Kusal Perera suffered a nasty collision near the boundary hoardings and had to be rushed to a hospital. After the Dinner break, the Windies challenge didn’t last long and it was Kemar Roach’s unbeaten 23 – highest score in the innings – that pushed the team over 90.
Sri Lanka got off to a less than ideal start with Mahela Udawatte dismissed for nought by Roach with nine on the board. Danushka Gunathilaka and Dhananjaya de Silva scored 21 for the second wicket to get the chase going. However, Holder ended Gunathilaka’s promising stay in the ninth over after the opener had struck 21 off 30. He also went past de Silva’s defence as well to create jitters in the Sri Lankan camp.
The Windies captain just didn’t stop there. He dismissed Roshen Silva late in the day to lift his team’s chances. Sri Lanka were 50 for 4 then and still 94 away from the target. With the conditions aiding movement, Holder not only got the move the ball in the air, but to his credit stuck to difficult lines and lengths to mount the pressure on the batsmen. He helped his team surge ahead when he dismissed Niroshan Dickwella, who troubled Windies in the first innings, for 6 in the 19th over with Sri Lanka still needing 70 more.
Considering Sri Lanka are a batsman short at the moment, the onus will be on Kusal Mendis to guide the team home to a historic win. If Sri Lanka do manage to pull this off, they’ll become the first Asian side to win a Test in Barbados after 16 attempts.
Brief scores: Windies 204 & 93 (Kasun Rajitha 3-20) lead Sri Lanka 154 & 81/5 (Jason Holder 4-21) by 63 runs.