Brathwaite eyeing end to Test hundred drought

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Brathwaite eyeing end to Test hundred drought
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite: 99 not out. (FP)

NORTH SOUND – West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite stood poised to end his Test hundred drought after he propped up his side’s batting against Sri Lanka in the second Test in Antigua.

Brathwaite was unbeaten on 99 and Rahkeem Cornwall was not out on 43, and the Windies, sent in to bat, reached 287 for seven at the close on the first day of the match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

On 98, Brathwaite became the 16th West Indies batsman to reach 4,000 runs in Tests, but he has not scored a Test hundred in 38 innings spanning 19 Tests over the past two years and eight months and will be looking to make that the first order of business when play resumes on Tuesday.

He and Cornwall batted through an hour-and-a-quarter and have added 65 – unbroken – for the eighth wicket to revive the Caribbean side, after they stumbled to 222 for seven about an hour after tea.

Kyle Mayers made 49, Jason Holder added 30 and Alzarri Joseph got 29, but they were all guilty of gifting their wickets.

Mayers and Brathwaite helped West Indies emerge from a shaky start before lunch, after Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal struck twice in the first hour and had the hosts scrambling on 15 for two.

They carried the Windies to 86 for two at the interval, after Lakmal had left-handed opener John Campbell caught behind for five and bowled first Test century-maker Nkrumah Bonner for a sixth-ball duck.

Mayers endured a streaky start to his innings and lived a charmed life before lunch, and Pathum Nissanka dropped him at third slip on 12 off Lakmal.

His luck run out, when he edged the third ball after lunch and was caught behind off left-arm pacer Vishwa Fernando, a similar fate that befell Jermaine Blackwood off Lakmal for 18.

In between, Brathwaite, on 37, was dropped at gully off Fernando in the seventh over after lunch and he never gave the Sri Lankans a sniff of a chance for the rest of the day.

He put on 51 for the fifth wicket with Holder before the all-rounder was caught at slip off Dhananjaya de Silva in the final 10 minutes before tea.

Fortune smiled on Joshua da Silva, when TV ball tracking technology offered him a reprieve to what appeared a palpable lbw decision to his first ball from his Sri Lanka off-spinning namesake and the Windies reached 171 for five at tea.

After tea, da Silva failed to make use of his chance and was caught behind off Chameera for one, fanning at a delivery outside the off-stump.

Joseph, on 21, defied a close call off ambidextrous spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, who dropped him on 28 at fine leg off Fernando.

But his brief entertainment came to an end, when the spinner had him lbw, playing defensively forward, a decision confirmed after he reviewed umpire Gregory Brathwaite’s verdict.

Summarised scores:

WEST INDIES 287 for seven (Kraigg Brathwaite 99 not out, Kyle Mayers 49, Rahkeem Cornwall 43, Jason Holder 30, Alzarri Joseph 29, Jermaine Blackwood 18; Suranga Lakmal 3-71) vs SRI LANKA.