West Indies A in driver’s seat against Sri Lanka

(CMC) – Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall snatched a five-wicket haul and Test opener Rajendra Chandrika and wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton lashed their second half-centuries of the game, as West Indies A produced a telling performance to put Sri Lanka A on the ropes on the penultimate day of the second four-day ‘Test’ here yesterday.At the close, Sri Lanka A were struggling on 36 for two in pursuit of 481 for victory at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium – still requiring an improbable 445 runs in today’s final day to win the contest.
Earlier resuming on 128 for four, Sri Lanka were bundled out for 245 in their first innings as Cornwall ripped through the innings to finish with six for 91.
Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella top-scored with 88, captain Dimuth Karunaratne got 68 while Asela Gunaratne chipped in with a vital 46, but the hosts lost their last five wickets for just 25 runs in a swift collapse, about 25 minutes after lunch.
Yet again, Cornwall spearheaded the Windies attack, taking four of the last five wickets to collect his second five-wicket haul following on from his eight-wicket innings haul in the opening ‘Test’ in Colombo.
With a healthy first-innings lead of 264, West Indies A then raced to 216 for three declared, with Chandrika stroking 68 and Hamilton a whirlwind unbeaten 56 off just 30 deliveries.
Captain Shamarh Brooks also gathered an up-tempo unbeaten 53 off 63 balls while Shimron Hetmyer chipped in with 28.
Left-hander Kieran Powell fell cheaply for two with the score on four in the fourth over of the innings but three successive half-century partnerships put the visitors in command.
The right-handed Chandrika put on 65 for the second wicket with Hetmyer who carved out five fours in a busy 37-ball knock before falling on the stroke of tea, lbw to leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay.
After the break, Chandrika added a further 67 for the third wicket with Brooks, as West Indies A controlled the final session.
All told, Chandrika struck five fours and a six off 110 deliveries while Brooks hammered three fours and two sixes in an enterprising knock.
When Chandrika was lbw to teenage off-spinner Charith Asalanka, Brooks and Hamilton combined to plunder 80 off 51 balls in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand which stunned the hosts.
Hamilton, who made 99 in the first innings, was the main aggressor, lashing five fours and four sixes.
Left with 11 overs to negotiate, Sri Lanka A slumped to seven for two with seamers Delorn Johnson and Kemar Roach removing both openers cheaply.
Avishka Fernando, on 18, and Roshen Silva, 11, then added 29 to prop up the innings.


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