Bravo impresses on rain-hit day


PALLEKELE: Darren Bravo hit an impressive 63 not out for his third half-century to boost the West Indies in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
Bravo, who made 58 and 80 in the first two Tests, cracked nine fours in his 111-ball knock to steady the innings after the first-ball dismissal of former captain Chris Gayle.
He put on 115 for the second wicket with opener Devon Smith, who hit a solid 55 before being trapped leg-before by unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis in the final session. Only 40 overs were possible in the day due to bad light and rain. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, trying to play a big knock after making 40 runs in two completed innings of the series, was unbeaten on 11.
Bravo, 21, continued to impress with his exciting stroke-play as he fluently drove paceman Dilhara Fernando through the covers for a boundary and then hit seamer Angelo Mathews for two fours in an over. He completed his half-century in the last session with a four off Fernando. He then offered a chance on 56, but Mahela Jayawardene dropped the catch in the slips off Fernando.
The first Test at the Pallekele International Stadium started on a sensational note when paceman Suranga Lakmal trapped Gayle leg-before with his first delivery after the tourists had been put in to bat. It was a big blow to the West Indies as Gayle began the three-Test series with an explosive 333 in the opening match. The series is tied 0-0 following rain-hit drawn matches in Colombo and Galle.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara kept changing his bowlers, using five in the opening 15 overs, but had to wait for more than 32 overs for the second success as Bravo and Smith batted well. Part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan, who took two wickets in an over in the last Test, was pressed into the attack after seven overs and bowled just three overs for four runs.
Sri Lanka made one change from the side that played in the second Test, bringing in Fernando in place of paceman Nuwan Kulasekara. The West Indies replaced opener Adrian Barath and off-spinner Shane Shillingford with Smith and Nelon Pascal. The West Indies have lost five and drawn three of their eight Tests in Sri Lanka.