Sri Lanka v West Indies, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day November 18, 2010

Sri Lanka solid after following on

Sri Lanka 378 (M Jayawardene 59, P Jayawardene 58, Samaraweera 52) and 89 for 0 (Paranavitana 44*, Dilshan 44*) trail West Indies 580 for 9 dec by 171 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A post-lunch fightback was not enough to prevent West Indies from asking Sri Lanka to bat again on the fourth day in Galle, as the hosts were dismissed agonisingly close to the follow-on target of 381. Some positive batting from the Sri Lanka openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana, however, ensured West Indies would have to battle hard to go 1-0 up in the series, as they closed out the day's play on 89 for no loss, having chiseled the deficit down to 113.

A mini-collapse following the wicket of Dammika Prasad ensured that Sri Lanka would have to bat again, despite the best efforts of Prasanna Jayawardene and Prasad himself, as their 72-run partnership propelled the hosts to within three runs of avoiding the follow-on. Prasanna Jayawardene battled valiantly for his 58, while Prasad rode his luck for 47 at the other end, edging the fast men through the slips on several occasions as well as mistiming sweeps off the spinner, only for the ball to fall metres in front of the fine-leg fieldsman. He also entertained with two sweetly struck sixes over midwicket, using his feet against Shane Shillingford to loft him over cow corner and hanging back to wallop a slower ball from Darren Sammy over the same area.

Prasanna Jayawardene, too, chipped in with regular boundaries and accumulated sensibly. He made use of some odd field placements by Sammy who, for the first time in the innings, had relaxed the field while the fast bowlers were in operation, even turning down the second new ball and opting instead to attack with spin.

The ploy paid off eventually, however, as Prasad holed out to long-off attempting to clear the boundary one too many times, with his side only 14 runs short of making West Indies bat again. Ajantha Mendis came and went, and No.11 Thilan Thushara drove Kemar Roach down the ground to get Sri Lanka within one strike of the follow-on score. Prasanna Jayawardene, however, could not get the hosts over the line, top-edging an aggressive sweep off Shillingford to leave his team short, and Sammy with the option of enforcing the follow-on. He did so with little hesitation.

West Indies had consolidated their position of advantage, striking thrice in the morning session to remove the overnight pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera as well as Angelo Mathews; that left Sri Lanka going in to lunch at 262 for six. Shillingford continued to torment Mahela Jayawardene, as he had yesterday, almost having him caught at leg slip, only to have Dwayne Bravo spill the tough chance. He was out wafting airily to Roach next over, however, having made 59.

Thilan Samaraweera started nervously against the pace of Roach, but soon found his feet to progress to a half-century. He was the victim of a terrible stroke of misfortune soon after, when he was caught backing up too far as a straight drive from Mathews clipped Dwayne Bravo's outstretched boot on its way to the stumps at the non-striker's end. Sri Lanka were left in the lurch when Mathews fell just before lunch, and despite Prasad and Prasanna Jayawardene's partnership, the follow-on target proved too challenging for the hosts.

The Sri Lankan openers came out fighting after their side batted again, as they raced to 31 in seven overs before tea and continued to defy West Indies following the break. Dilshan was typically free flowing, slashing and pulling with little restraint to force the field back, and used the crease well to negotiate the spin of Shillingford, once even dancing down the track to slam him back over his head for four. Paranavitana, too, was positive in intent, driving and cutting to the square fence early in his innings, before settling into a steady routine of singles and twos to the sweepers once gaps began to appear in the field. Only 22 overs were possible in Sri Lanka's second innings before evening showers stopped play, and the inclement weather was steady enough to wash out the remaining overs.

Weather permitting, West Indies have 98 overs to take ten Sri Lankan wickets tomorrow and have a chance of notching up a historic win. But the hosts' impressive start and the intervention of the weather have made a draw the most likely outcome heading into the final day.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here