Suranga Lakmal took 4/94 but the captain’s century and the allrounder’s 73 kept the home team strong
Tea: Sri Lanka 60 for 1 (Thirimanne 40*) trail West Indies 354 (Brathwaite 126, Mayers 49, Cornwall 73, Lakmal 4-94, Chameera 3-69) by 294 runs
Lahiru Thirimanne headed up Sri Lanka’s post-lunch response, as he struck 40 of Sri Lanka’s 60 runs, after West Indies batted through the first session to make 354. Thirimanne lost opening parter Dimuth Karunaratne for 1, thanks to a spectacular one-handed diving catch from Nkrumah Bonner. But he stuck around until the end of the session – which was briefly interrupted by rain – striking up an unbeaten 42-run partnership with Oshada Fernando, who was by a distance the more reticent batsman in the stand, making 18 off 67.
Thirimanne began confidently. He drove his second ball through mid-off for four, setting up something of a trend: four of his five boundaries were hit down the ground off seamers. For the remainder of his time at the crease however, he was happy to work the ball around – finding singles square of the wicket – as he set his sights on a third half-century in as many innings in the series. There was the occasional edge, including one that flew wide of gully off Kemar Roach and on to the boundary, but he was largely untroubled during his 85-ball stay.
Karunaratne, meanwhile, had seemed tetchy from the outset. Although he took a single off the first ball he faced, he could not pierce the infield after that and laboured until he ventured a loose drive to the 17th ball, bowled by Alzarri Joseph. The resultant edge flew to the right of Bonner, who leapt horizontally to snaffle the ball in his right hand in spectacular fashion to give West Indies their first breakthrough with only 18 on the board for Sri Lanka.
Oshada endured a couple of close lbw reviews during his stay. The first, against Jason Holder, projected the ball to just be shaving the leg stump, and would have remained out had the on-field umpire decided to give it. Oshada had been on 14 at the time. Then, just before the session ended, Oshada shouldered arms to a Kyle Mayers delivery that would have grazed off stump, but again – and despite West Indies’ review – he was saved by the umpire’s call, which had deemed him not out.
In the first session, Sri Lanka managed to bowl West Indies out but had given away a substantial 67 runs. This was thanks in part to Kraigg Brathwaite who progressed to his ninth Test hundred after having been 99 not out overnight, but also to Rahkeem Cornwall, who finished with 73 off 92 balls for his second adventurous fifty of the series.
Cornwall and Brathwaite had put up 103 for the eighth wicket, by a distance West Indies’ best partnership. As had been the case right throughout the innings, Brathwaite sat back and played cautiously while Cornwall attacked, edging several balls either through or over the slips, though there were excellent shots as well, off the spinners particularly.
Dushmantha Chameera took the last two wickets to fall, dismissing Brathwaite by having him play on to his stumps on 126. Suranga Lakmal, though, collected the best figures for the innings, taking 4 for 94. He had added to his day one tally when Cornwall holed out to mid-on off his bowling, shortly after the drinks break in the first session.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf