WINDIES VS SRI LANKA, 1ST TEST
We know that we’ve got to find the length that’s hard to score of, we attack the stumps with good field settings, make it hard for them to score – Law. © AFP
All three results are still a possibility going into the final day of the first Test between Windies and Sri Lanka, given that the visitors need 277 runs in 90 overs with seven wickets in hand. The hosts were in the driver’s seat when Kusal Perera fell early in the second innings with just 21 on the board. But since then, the Sri Lankans have fought back courageously led by Kusal Mendis, who remained unbeaten on 94 when stumps were drawn on Saturday (June 9) as Sri Lanka ended the fourth day on 176 for 3.
Sri Lanka, who were dealt with a blow when Dinesh Chandimal retired ill after his 23-ball stay due to heat stroke symptoms, will hope their skipper can make it back to the middle on the final day. But Stuart Law, the Windies coach, believed as long as his bowlers hit the right lengths and attacked the stumps, they would be on track, factoring in the variable bounce on offer on the final day.
“We don’t talk a great deal, we just stick to what we know best,” Law said. “We know that we’ve got to find the length that’s hard to score of, we attack the stumps with good field settings, make it hard for them to score and one of those that either roll on the ground or bounce should come into play. We won’t talk about it too much tonight, we come back in the morning and reassess. We formulate our plans and then get out there and try and do it.
“You know 453 to win is a huge target, 400 is not something that gets chased down too often in Test cricket, there’s always something happening,” he said. “[From] our bowlers, we’ve had a big effort so far, they bowled them out for 180 in the first innings in 40-odd overs, we just need one more big effort tomorrow – 90 overs to get seven wickets and keep them under 250,” he added.
That Windies found themselves in a position of strength was owing to Shane Dowrich’s unbeaten 125 in the first innings, along with handy runs from the tail, and Kieran Powell’s 88 in the second. While Law praised the duo, he also acknowledged that the frontline batsmen hadn’t lived up to the billing. While no batter went past 44 in the first innings, 39 was the second-best in the second innings.
“We batted really well in this Test match, our top five didn’t score great runs but they all got starts in the first innings. Shane Dowrich converted that and Kieron Powell batted beautifully in the second innings, didn’t quite get on to that hundred but useful contributions down the order.
“It’s been hot, that’s for sure. I think the wicket’s been good too, in the first innings it was difficult to bat on, our boys applied themselves really well and to bowl Sri Lanka out for 180 was a testament to it. The wicket was difficult, it’s flattened out, it’s got better and better so it’s been a good cricket wicket so far, we just need it to deteriorate a bit. There’s a little bit of spin, little bit of variable bounce and we need to exploit that tomorrow to push on for victory.”