Sri Lankans level series after big win over Windies A

Editor-at-Large, South Central Bureau

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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FLORENCE HALL, Trelawny — Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara completed a second innings 6-46 for a match haul of 12-98 to bowl Sri Lanka A to a comprehensive 280-run win over West Indies A with more than a day to spare in the second 'Test' at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium here yesterday.

Scores in a game which was dominated by the visitors in all areas: Sri Lanka A 294 and 267-9 declared; West Indies A 137 and 144. The victory meant the visitors levelled the three-match series at 1-1, having lost the first 'Test' by an innings and 13 runs a week ago. The third Test will be played at Sabina Park in Kingston later this week.

As he did in the first innings, the 30-year-old Pushpakumara exploited worn spots on a length in line with the stumps at the southern end, finding sharp turn and bounce on yesterday's third day. And West Indies A batsmen, with the exception of Sunil Ambris who top-scored with an accomplished 76-ball 41, were unable to cope.

The day began with Sri Lanka A pressing on from their overnight 213-6 to build an overall lead of 424 before declaring after just over an hour's play.

Roshen Silva, who had held the visitors' innings together in difficult conditions on the second day, missed out on a well-deserved century, trapped lbw by offspinner Rahkeem Cornwall's arm ball for 86 — adding just one to his overnight score. The accomplished Silva hit four fours and two sixes and faced 159 balls.

His overnight partner Wanindu Hasaranga raced to an unbeaten 50 (62 balls, six fours) — the landmark triggering the visitors' declaration. Cornwall continued his rich wicket-taking form against SrI Lanka A dating back to West Indies A tour of that country last year, with 5-107.

Fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell, Keon Joseph, and the 20-year-old Oshane Thomas — who triggered excitement with his startling pace on the second day — took a wicket each.

Chasing 425 to win, West Indies A were never in the hunt. Left-handed opener John Campbell (one), intent on hitting Pushpakumara off his length, danced down the wicket to the wily spinner, but could only hit a tame catch to mid-on at 3-1.

His captain, Shamarh Brooks (seven), had similar ideas, lofting Pushpakumara over mid-on for six, but badly miscued another attempt to go over the top, providing short extra cover with catching practice at 13-2.

Vishaul Singh made nine before being caught behind off Pushpakumara's faster ball at 27-3. Wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton (six) flicked loosely at the off spin of Captain Dhananjaya de Silva (1-7) to be caught at square leg. That left Ambris, again batting at number six in the order — seemingly in defiance of all logic — to somehow orchestrate a miracle with opener Montcin Hodge.

However, all hope disappeared when Hodge, who had stood firm for 50 balls for 14 runs, edged pacer Kasun Rajitha to the 'keeper at 66-5.

Rapped on the fingers by pacer Asitha Fernando and visibly uncomfortable thereafter, Cornwall (two) fell to Pushpakumara at 80-6. The left-arm spinner was on a hat-trick next ball trapping Damion Jacobs LBW at 80-7

Sheldon Cottrell (17) avoided the hat-trick, but eventually fell to Pushpakumara — the latter's 12th wicket in the match. The assured Ambris fell to off-spinner Shehan Jayasuriya, first ball after tea, adjudged lbw, having hit four fours off 76 balls, leaving Thomas (18) and Joseph not out 13 to provide light entertainment in a last wicket, 25-run stand.




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