Holder four-for leaves Test evenly poised on 20-wicket day

Shashank Kishore and Sreshth Shah

An inspired Jason Holder breathed fire to remove four Sri Lankan wickets late in the day as West Indies kept their hopes of a series win alive on a 20-wicket day in Bridgetown. These are the most wickets to have fallen in a single day of Test cricket in the Caribbean, surpassing the 18 that fell when England last toured here in 2015.

Holder’s figures at stumps on the third day read 8-3-21-4 as Sri Lanka stumbled to 81 for 5 chasing 144 for a series-levelling victory in the third Test. The visitors could effectively be six down, with Kusal Perera in hospital for scans following a nasty injury while fielding earlier in the day. Official word on his availability is awaited.

West Indies had grabbed a 50-run lead, that could have been much more if not for a shoddy drop down leg by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich in the day’s first over, with Sri Lanka yet to add to their overnight 99 for 5. On 13 then, Dickwella went on to top-score with 42 in Sri Lanka’s 154 all out. Holder picked up three of the four wickets to fall, finishing with 4 for 19 off 16 overs.

The game then galloped forward when Sri Lanka took just 31.2 overs to skittle West Indies for 93, the least overs they’ve taken to bowl out a Test side outside Asia. Kemar Roach‘s adventurous 23 not out was the highest in a disastrous batting performance, with each of the top five recording single-digit scores. Suranga Lakmal, the captain, and Lahiru Kumara picked up three wickets apiece, Kumara easily the most impressive of the lot, troubling batsmen with genuine pace married with tremendous accuracy.

Then under lights, Holder, Roach and Shannon Gabriel got the ball to hoop around, putting the batsmen through a searching examination. Sri Lanka’s hopes now hinge on Kusal Mendis, unbeaten on 25. He has all rounder Dilruwan Perera and the lower order for company.

Summarized scores: Sri Lanka 154 and 81 for 5 (Mendis 25*, Dilruwan 1*, Holder 4-21) need 63 more to beat West Indies 204 and 93 (Roach 23*, Rajitha 3-20, Lakmal 3-25)


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