In the less than ten overs played in the second session, they dismissed Niroshan Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal before rain returned
Tea Sri Lanka 217 for 7 (Nissanka 23*, Chameera 0*, Joseph 2-44) trail West Indies 354 (Brathwaite 126, Cornwall 73, Lakmal 4-94) by 137 runs
West Indies continued to make strong headway in the less than ten overs played in the second session, dismissing Niroshan Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal before rain returned to halt play. At tea, Sri Lanka were 217 for 7, still 137 runs adrift, and with only their most junior batsman – Pathum Nissanka – batting alongside the tail. He played securely enough, batting out 82 deliveries, but like so many of his team-mates, played with substantial caution on a sluggish track, striking at only 28.
Overall, Sri Lanka have progressed at a rate of only 2.37 across their innings, which has now lasted 91.3 overs. Disappointingly for the visitors, five of the six recognised batsmen who have been dismissed made starts, but only Lahiru Thirimanne had gone on to a half-century.
Dickwella had been among Sri Lanka’s more positive batsmen, typically busy at the crease, and unafraid to play his shots. But on 21 off 24 balls, he inside-edged Jason Holder to the wicketkeeper, and though given not out initially, was sent on his way after the review. Suranga Lakmal didn’t hang around long, flicking Alzarri Joseph aerially to short midwicket three overs later. In this brief session, as well as through the day, West Indies’ bowlers were disciplined and patient, but hardly unplayable. Essentially, they outlasted Sri Lanka’s batsmen.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had lost Dinesh Chandimal in the first half-hour of play, when he got out to Shannon Gabriel for 44, having added only ten runs to his overnight score. Essentially, he was worn down by the short ball. Having been dropped – also off Gabriel – on 35, and a few overs later, his dismissal was the result of a mis-timed hook, which settled comfortably in the hands of the deep square leg. His wicket ended Sri Lanka’s most productive partnership – he and Dhananjaya de Silva had put on 75 together off 182 balls.
The wicket of de Silva shortly before rain came to cut the first session slightly short would have especially hurt Sri Lanka though. Not only did de Silva seem assured – if reticent – against West Indies’ bowling, he also should not have been given lbw against the part-time offspin of Jermaine Blackwood, the over before the second new ball was due. He was batting on 39 off 139 balls when Blackwood spun one into his front pad. Although he was hit in front of middle stump, the ball always seemed to be turning sharply. He didn’t even consider a review; projections showed that the ball would be turning past leg stump.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf