BRIDGETOWN: Sri Lanka hit back with three wickets in 20 minutes in a frenetic first session on day three of the day/night third and final Test against the West Indies on Monday after the home side had taken a 50-run first innings to lead at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Home captain Jason Holder had brushed aside the tourists’ feeble lower order with three of the last four wickets toppling for just the addition of seven runs as Sri Lanka, who need a victory to level the series, being dismissed for 154 after resuming from the overnight position of 99 for five.
But before Holder was able to relax and reflect on his impressive figures of four for 18, the West Indies were rocked back to 13 for three at the break, a lead of 63 runs with seven second innings wickets in hand.
Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain for this match in the absence of the suspended Dinesh Chandimal, bowled Devon Smith and then had the other opener, Kraigg Brathwaite, taken at short-leg.
Lahiru Kumara, the tourists’ most successful bowler in the series, then dispensed with Shai Hope for a duck to have the West Indies tottering.
It was the first time in their 90-year Test history that the Caribbean side had lost their first three wickets for fewer than ten runs in both innings of a Test match.
Kieran Powell and Roston Chase are expected to face a searching examination from the Sri Lankan seamers in the evening session on a pitch full of encouragement for the faster bowlers.
Earlier, only Niroshan Dickwella, who top-scored with 42, offered any substantial resistance, benefiting from an early let-off when wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich could not hold on to a leg-side offered by his Sri Lankan counterpart in the first over of the day off Shannon Gabriel.
Gabriel removed the other overnight batsman, Roshen Silva, however, and all-rounder Dilruwan Perera helped Dickwella in putting on 29 runs for the seventh wicket as Sri Lanka inched towards the West Indies first innings total of 204.
But Holder brought himself into the attack with immediate success, having Dickwella caught by Smith at slip and then adding the wickets of Lakmal and Kasun Rajitha in quick succession before Kumara ran himself out to end the innings.