Herath shines on another frustrating day
West Indies 303 for 8 (Benn 29*, Roach 12*, Herath 4-54, Mendis 2-78) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A sizeable crowd arrived at the Pallekele Stadium to finally see some action after rain washed out yesterday's play, but only 20 overs were possible before the clouds opened up once again to frustrate fans and players alike. Rangana Herath struck three times in the morning and West Indies' tail seemed set to capitulate quickly once again before the weather intervened to force an early lunch.
Herath might not have expected a wicket when he fired one down the leg side in the second over of the day, but Brendan Nash's attempted sweep took a bottom edge on its way to Prasanna Jayawardene, who had moved smartly to collect the wayward delivery. Nash exited for a valuable 67, kicking himself for the indiscretion. Herath didn't have to wait long for his second wicket of the day, when Carlton Baugh was struck in front in his following over, again attempting to sweep. Baugh had successfully overturned two decisions in his previous innings in Colombo and tried his luck with the review once more, but this time the decision stood.
Herath continued to trouble the West Indies batsmen with a succession of beautifully flighted deliveries, varying his length subtly to keep them guessing. Benn landed a couple lusty blows over midwicket, but Darren Sammy played back to one that straightened to be caught dead in front for 8, continuing his horror tour with the bat - he had made only two runs in two previous innings.
West Indies' tail was ill-equipped to handle Herath and Ajantha Mendis as they groped and prodded at some high-class spin bowling on a turning pitch. Benn's unbeaten 26 was especially wrought with unorthodox technique and strokeplay. His ungainly wallops into the stands were followed by a sweep which found the back of the bat and flew over slip and a comically unsuccessful forward defensive to a full delivery, which hit him on the thigh as he went down on a knee. Both he and Roach were content to pick up the ones and twos after Kumar Sangakkara sent men back to defend the leg-side boundary.
Play resumed when the weather abated after lunch, but it returned in torrents following another 2.3 overs of play. Out of 360 overs that should have been bowled thus far in the match, only 103 have been possible as the series heads towards a wet stalemate.