In an almost exact reversal of roles from the first Test, Sri Lanka go into the final day of the second and final Test having been set a challenging target of 377 after the West Indies declared their second innings at 280-4 on the fourth day on Thursday.
A week earlier, the Caribbean side batted through the last day at the same venue to ensure a draw after being set 375 to win.
Now it will be the visitors heading to the final morning on 29-0 after the opening pair of Lahiru Thirimanne and captain Dimuth Karunaratne navigated nine overs to the close.
For the second time in four years, Kraigg Brathwaite missed out on the rare feat of centuries in both innings of a Test when he was dismissed for 85 as the West Indies skipper was again the fulcrum of his team’s second innings.
In the second match of the 2017 Test series against England at Headingley in Leeds, Brathwaite scored 134 and 95 as the West Indies achieved a famous victory.
Having occupied the crease for eight-and-a-half hours in accumulating 126 out of 354 in the first innings, Brathwaite was more energetic second time around with his team looking to set a declaration.
Nevertheless, his five hours at the crease in which he faced 196 balls and struck only four boundaries was again typical of his phlegmatic manner.
Expectations of a declaration when he was bowled by Dushmantha Chameera deep into the final session proved unfounded, as Jason Holder and Joshua da Silva put on 53 unbroken for the fifth wicket before the call finally came.
Holder dominated the scoring with an unbeaten 71.
“I just wanted to give us enough time to get the sort of runs on the board that our bowlers can work with,” Braithwaite said. “This is still a good batting pitch, but I back our bowlers to put in a really good effort on the last day.”
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