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5 Talking Points From Drawn Second Test Between Sri Lanka and West Indies

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Newspaper headlines cannot be blamed for suggesting bad weather, uncertain playing conditions as a dogged Kraigg Brathwaite denied Sri Lanka a realistic win in the ongoing West Indies vs Sri Lanka 2018 series. But a regular Test contest made thrilling by topsy-turvy batting and inclusion of an alleged ‘sweetened’ attempt at ball-tampering was far more interesting than what most would’ve conceded.
Depending on whose fan you are, the St. Lucia Test between Windies and Sri Lanka would offer varying narratives.
From a Sri Lankan perspective, the Second Test was about a lost opportunity to dismantle a troubled Windies batting line-up. With Windies reeling at 55-3 heading into lunch, going shortly afterwards at 4-66, how did the team not lose? This would be, at this moment, the unfairest outcome for a Sri Lankan fan.
From a Windies perspective, the Second Test signalled celebrations as no longer could the Sri Lankans ‘defeat’ their hosts in the 3-match series, with Windies going one up already at Trinidad.

5 talking points from St Lucia’s Windies versus Sri Lanka 2018 contest

The ICC has a role to play

Ball tampering srilanka vs westindies
ICC needs to bring more clarity regarding Ball-Tampering (Image: Deccan Chronicle)

Day 3 is where all drama would cut loose.
Amid dramatic scenes of Chandimal and co. refuting claims of ball-tampering levelled by umpires- Aleem Dar and Ian Gould- who were reviled at seeing the red ball’s condition, the play would come to a halt. Never before in a Windies versus Sri Lanka contest have such scenes transpired.
But with the Windies and Lankan perspectives told, if you were Javagal Srinath, the match referee and a witness to the ensuing action on Day 3, then you’d be perplexed.
For a contest that already had much of the second day’s play ruined due to rains- St. Lucian skies preferring to trouble through pricky showers for the most part of the afternoon- it wasn’t a great site to see Sri Lankan bowlers delaying resumption of bowling on the start of Day 3. The loss of the crucial 2 hours on what’s often a decisive day of Test cricket- would mean- that the Windies would eventually stroll to 300.
But this left everyone questioning, would they have had a different scorecard had Lankans used the 2 hours spent in a demonstration against the umpire’s call in upsetting the batsmen’s tempo?

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Dinesh Chandimal, despite the controversy, made use of his bat

despite ball tampering controversy, he scored runs

Arguably, the best current batsman of a troubled team, Chandimal got a lot of stick of the accusations levelled against him on ball tampering, the draconian downer for many a cricketer’s careers.
But in the second inning of Sri Lanka, their captain held the side together. It was also, important in the nature of the contest, with Sri Lanka managing a paltry 253 in their first inning.
However, to amend for a no-show in the first inning, Chandimal struck a magnificent 119 off just 186 deliveries, which included 10 fours and 1 six.
It seemed the Sri Lankan skipper was there to counter-attack with the bat, in an attempt to assuage the controversy erupted by his alleged mishandling of the ball.
While the ICC is to decide their verdict, Chandimal having protested the accusation already, the fluent century helped Sri Lanka to find legs in their batting during the second inning.

What are the Windies to do regarding Devon Smith?

Devon Smith
He tried, he scored. Will Devon Smith be persisted with?

Among the most polarised Test batsmen in the Windies squad at the moment, just what is the future of the left-hander?
While the experienced Smith conjured a vital, watchful and eventually credible 61 in the first inning, sticking around for 176 balls, his dismissal for 1, playing wide outside off in the second inning ruined all the good work he’d done.
Considering that in Heitmeyer, the Windies have an inexperienced but handy talent, someone who exhibits the familiar Caribbean punch, should he be called in to support Kraigg Brathwaite, whilst number.3 Powell stays where he is?

Lahiru Kumara is Sri Lanka’s new hope

Lahiru Kumara
Certainly, a man for the future.

The score read 28-2 as the Windies were desperately trying to make a match out of the eventual inconsequential 295-run ask. In came the stormy, burly right armer Lahiru Kumar. In front of him was a batsman the Windies and fans, who still support the side despite its berated recent past, regard as a saviour.
The prospect of seeing a Hope versus Kumara contest was the only appetizer that held a balanced view of what was clearly being a one-sided narrative favouring Sri Lanka.
Suddenly, the ball pitched at short length, generated vicious bounce and uncanny pace to hit Shai Hope straight into his ribs. This would send the Bajan back in the dug-out.
Earlier, Kumara had already secured a 4-for in the first inning. Even as he went wicketless later in the drab draw, he’s already picked 11 wickets in the Caribbean, on what’s his maiden tour.
Surely a find for Sri Lanka, just as Shannon Gabriel is for the West Indies- who emerged with a vital 8-f0r in the second innings, removing the possibility of Lankans reaching 400 or possibly beyond.

The stoicism of Kraigg Braithwaite saves the Windies

Kraigg Braithwaite
Kraigg Braithwaite made sure West Indies did not lose (Image: sports.ndtv.com)

The Windies vice-captain is amongst the finest timers of the cricket ball. Moreover, his patient batting lends a calming touch to what’s often is an exhibition of quintessential Caribbean flair.
But the only concern that had been hovering over Braithwaite was a sheer lack of runs he’d collected in the 3 previous innings before he walked out to bat on Day 5.
Scores of 3 and 16 did less to demonstrate his mighty talent.
Thankfully, in collecting a valuable 59 runs, scored off 172 balls, the Bajan played a vital “Blockathon” to curb the growing menace of Lankan bowlers.
They all came and went- including Devon Smith, Powell, even Chase- but Braithwaite’s remarkable focus, especially against a threatening duo of Lakmal and Kumara with varying bounce at the backdrop, saved the day for his side.

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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