Nkrumah Bonner: West Indies need 'smart tactics' to beat Sri Lanka's spinners
West Indies batter says if they can keep Dimuth Karunaratne to low scores, they take substantial steps to winning the second Test
Be precise and decisive with your footwork against spin. Oh, and don't drop catches off Dimuth Karunaratne. Nkrumah Bonner, who top-scored for West Indies with 68 not out off 220 said the above would help his team be more competitive in the second Test.
Bonner was one of only two West Indies batters to cross fifty in the first Test, the other being Joshua da Silva, with whom he was involved in a 100-run stand. The pitch for the second Test is expected to be just as spin-friendly as the first. In fact, it may even start off drier, which means the kind of fast spin seen on days three, four and five in the first Test could arrive earlier.
"The ball is spinning a lot, so we've got to be more precise in our footwork - whether we're gonna come forward or go back," Bonner said. "These are small things we need work on if we want to be more sure in our defense, and when we attack.
"It's difficult when players don't get a start. In the first innings, the ball was holding and spinning. It was a different challenge in the second innings when the ball was sliding at times, and spinning too. We have to come up with smart tactics in order to play all the left-arm spinners."
Easily the most prolific batter in the game was Karunaratne, who hit 147 in the first innings, and 83 in the second - top-scoring for Sri Lanka both times. He had been dropped at slip on 14 in the first dig, though, and West Indies had also failed to review a not-out lbw decision they would have had overturned, early in Karunaratne's second innings.
If West Indies can keep Karunaratne to low scores, they take substantial steps to winning the match, Bonner said.
"Their skipper has a lot to do with that team. He probably made 250 runs in the first Test match. Take out him, their batting is not that long to me. Mathews is a good player and Chandimal is a good player, but Dimuth is really the player we need to get out early. In the last Test he got a few chances that haunted us for sure, because they made a big first-innings total. In the second Test, if we take our chances, we have a better chance. Getting him out is a big thing for us."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf