Rain forces dramatic 2nd test in West Indies to be drawn

GROS ISLET, St. Lucia (AP) Halfway through the cricket test, Sri Lanka didn’t want to go on to the field. At the end, the team didn’t want to leave.

The Sri Lankans reluctantly accepted the light wasn’t good enough for play, which meant drawing with the West Indies in a dramatic second test on Monday.

The West Indies take a 1-0 lead into the third and final test starting on Saturday in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The home side spent most of the fifth day in survival mode after being set 296 to win in three sessions. Shai Hope, Kraigg Brathwaite and captain Jason Holder all suffered painful body blows from deliveries, and they were relieved when a second bout of rain after tea finally ended the match, with the team blocking for 147-5.

Sri Lanka, in full-on attack, initially questioned whether the bad light was bad enough but accepted the umpires’ call. Unlike on day three, when the visitors refused to come out of their dressing room then played only in protest at a ball-tampering charge faced by their captain, Dinesh Chandimal.

Whether losing that morning session may have cost Sri Lanka was debatable.

What wasn’t debatable was its fightback to take command of the test after trailing on the first innings. After sitting on 334-8 overnight, Sri Lanka added only eight more runs and West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel claimed the last two wickets to finish with 8-62 from the innings and 13-121 from the match. His first 10-for was the third best figures ever by a West Indies bowler.

Chasing down 296 in less than three sessions wasn’t likely for West Indies, even more so when it was 2-2 after Devon Smith and Kieran Powell were out to poor shots in the fourth over by debutant paceman Kasun Rajitha.

Hope then walked off on 6 after taking a Lakmal bouncer in the ribs, bringing out Roston Chase, who lasted 10 overs before he was bowled by Lakmal in the over before lunch. West Indies was 55-3.

After lunch, Shane Dowrich edged Akila Dananjaya to first slip on 8, at 64-4, and Hope rejoined opener Brathwaite, having sat out 14 overs and learned no ribs were broken.

With Hope playing in obvious pain, Brathwaite then took a ball to the stomach in the over before tea, but the session was a good one for the home side, who lost only one wicket while adding only 53 runs.

Hope’s stand ended soon after tea when he was bowled by Lakmal, for 39 off 115 balls.

In the next over, Brathwaite brought up his half-century with a boundary to mid on.

There followed a rain delay for nearly 1 hours. Play resumed for less than three overs, when Holder was hit in the box by Lakmal. Play never resumed. The light was too bad and half an hour later the rain returned.

Brathwaite finished on 59 not out, Holder on 15 in one of the most memorable test draws.