Devendra Bishoo valued his contribution of 40 in a 102-run stand with centurion Shane Dowrich "very highly" but he was most pleased with the fire shown by the fast bowlers. Sri Lanka were struggling at 31 for 3 at stumps, after West Indies moved from their overnight 246 for 6 to 418 declared.
Bishoo blunted 32 deliveries in the final hour on the opening day to shield Dowrich against the second new ball, before continuing his stiff resistance for large parts of the second day as well. He had some luck along the way, with top edges not carrying and outside edges racing past the slips, but it was the grind that gave him satisfaction as the pair occupied the crease for nearly 50 overs.
"I've played some good innings in the past, but this one will have a lot of value because of the position we were in," Bishoo told Cricket West Indies after play. "I had to come in and bat as long as possible and try to get a good partnership in.
"It [Dowrich's] was a very, very good innings. It was a key partnership. We took it step-by-step, we wanted to take it 20 runs at a time. He batted really well. We had a few tough overs, we wanted to conquer those moments and score runs whenever the opportunity came."
Dowrich acknowledged Bishoo's grind and said seeing off the second new ball helped lay the foundation for a vast total.
"He [Bishoo] is a guy that's very hard to out when he wants to bat," Dowrich said. "I think he did a superb job staying with me and it worked out for us. I always knew it would be tough starting because the new ball was there. We just had to see out that period and Lakmal was also bowling very well. So once we got through that tough period, it became easy as the day went on and we just stuck to it."
Bishoo faced 160 deliveries in all, and would've entertained thoughts of a maiden Test fifty, before slashing a wide ball from Suranga Lakmal into the hands of the gully fielder. "Of course, I'm disappointed [at missing the landmark]. Over the years, I've been getting 40, 44, 47, 45… I don't know how many 40s are allowed," he joked. "I really wanted to bat well, I didn't play too many shots, just wanted to focus and play as straight as I can. Sometimes things don't go as planned, but this was a good partnership, really important for us to have it."
With the ball, each of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder had picked up a wicket by stumps. "I think it's good to see our fast bowlers running in and have the fire in them and bowl with the pace like that," Bishoo said. "It's all done for now, but we have to come back fresh, knock early wickets tomorrow [Friday] and take it from there. So far, so good. We're trying to enjoy it as much as we can."