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2nd Test, North Sound, March 29 - April 02, 2021, Sri Lanka tour of West Indies
354 & 280/4d
(T:377) 258 & 193/2

Match drawn

Player Of The Match
126 & 85
Player Of The Series
11 wkts

Dimuth Karunaratne, Oshada Fernando fifties ensure series ends at 0-0

The West Indies bowlers failed to make inroad on a placid pitch

Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne added 101 for the first wicket  •  Getty Images

Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne added 101 for the first wicket  •  Getty Images

Sri Lanka 146 for 2 (Fernando 75, Oshada 66*) and 258 (Thirimanne 55, Nissanka 51, Roach 3-58) drew with West Indies 354 and 280 for 4 dec (Brathwaite 85, Holder 71*, Mayers 55, Lakmal 2-62)
Dimuth Karunaratne hit 75 and soaked up 176 deliveries in a century stand with Lahiru Thirimanne, and Oshada Fernando struck an unbeaten half-century of his own later in the day, as Sri Lanka comfortably batted out a draw in Antigua.
Missing Shannon Gabriel for part of the day due to a hamstring complaint, West Indies were only able to take two Sri Lanka wickets on a pitch that had become slower and lower for the quicks and yet did not take substantial turn for the spinners. Only the occasional delivery misbehaved, and that was usually out of the rough.
Each of the four Sri Lanka batsmen who came to the crease in this innings appeared comfortable. Even if the quicks occasionally took the edge, the ball was likely to die well before it reached the slip cordon, as long as it had been played with soft hands. Rahkeem Cornwall, meanwhile, threatened the inside edge with his straighter deliveries, but none of the thick edges was a viable catch for the fielder at short leg. At no stage was there the dramatic, fast turn - often seen in South Asia on the fifth day - to envenom the slow bowlers.
It was the 101-run opening stand that laid the platform for Sri Lanka's successful resistance. Thirimanne was dropped on 17 in the third over of the day when wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva failed to grasp a straightforward leg-side chance off the bowling of Gabriel. But otherwise, the openers were secure right through that session, defending resolutely and finding regular runs into the outfield, mostly square of the wicket.
Karunaratne was especially adept at shuffling across the stumps, closing his bat, and hitting into leg-side gaps. In fact, 55 of his runs (73%) came on that side of the pitch, with all but one of his nine boundaries scored there. He completed a half-century shortly before lunch, having hit some memorable on-drives, to go with his leg-side flicks.
Thirimanne was more cautious, venturing only two boundaries in the morning, perhaps pushed to reticence by the early chance he gave up. When he was dismissed for 39 off 114 nicking a full Alzarri Joseph delivery to first slip where Cornwall took a sharp, low catch, Karunaratne slowed down too. Although at times in his innings Karunaratne was striking at over 50, his eventual strike rate was 43. Sri Lanka had very clearly decided the target of 377 was going to be too much of a stretch (it always seemed extremely unlikely).
Oshada, likewise, did not seem to be overly troubled either by the pitch or West Indies' depleted attack. He hit out only against the truly wayward balls, picking up frequent singles in between the big shots. He scored more quickly than the openers, reaching his half-century off the 86th ball he faced, but then buckled down soon after. He was 66 not out off 119 when Kraigg Brathwaite decided no result was possible and the match was called off. With Karunaratne having been dismissed by Kyle Mayers late in the second session, Oshada had Dinesh Chandimal for company for the 20 overs that were played in the third session. Chandimal made 10 off 66 deliveries.
In the end, this Antigua surface's refusal to take substantial spin even at the back end of both Tests allowed teams to bat confidently in the fourth innings, greatly reducing the chance of a result. The footmarks did not play a substantial role, and spinners did not become seriously threatening in either Test.
The 0-0 result means Sri Lanka failed to win any of their series in the Caribbean, having lost the T20Is 2-1 and the ODIs 3-0. They do maintain their No. 7 ranking in Tests, however, keeping West Indies at eight.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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