Shai Hope failed to take full advantage of two moments of good fortune as Sri Lanka limited the West Indies to 153 for five at tea on the opening day of the first Test of a three-match series at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad on Wednesday.
Fast-medium bowler Lahiru Kamara accounted for the elegant right-hander for 44 to claim his second wicket for the day but it was namesake seamer Lahiru Gamage who was left ruing opportunities lost.
Without adding to his score of 29 at the interval, Hope chased a wide delivery and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella only to be reprieved by a no-ball call.
Within minutes Gamage had another wicket celebration cut short as he earned an LBW verdict against but the batsman’s request for a television replay review of the decision revealed a thin inside-edge and the dismissal was reversed.
Hope and Roston Chase extended their fourth-wicket partnership to 54 when Kamara’s persistence with a short-pitched line of attack brought about Hope’s demise via a gloved leg-side catch to Dickwella.
As expected, Rangana Herath played a bigger role at the bowling crease in the day’s second session and the most successful left-arm spinner in Test history responded with the wicket of Chase for 38 via a sharp catch by Angelo Mathews at slip when the batsman edged an attempted cut.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich and captain Jason Holder then batted with extreme caution to the interval, resulting in just 54 runs being added over the two hours. They face a challenging task in the final session to justify Holder’s decision to bat first at the start of the day.
Earlier, Devon Smith’s return to international cricket after more than three years ended in disappointment.
Opening the batting with Kraigg Brathwaite, the 36-year-old left-hander watched his partner depart in just the third over of the match, caught behind off experienced seamer Suranga Lakmal.
Smith, who last represented the regional side against England in his native Grenada in 2015, would have been especially keen to make an impact.
But his ambitions were undone by sharp work from Dinesh Chandimal as the Sri Lankan captain’s throw to the wicketkeeper from midwicket found the opener just short of his ground after he was called through for a single by new batsman Kieran Powell.
Powell sought to impose himself on a Sri Lankan attack comprising three seamers and two spinners. He and Hope put on 40 for the third wicket and looked to be getting on top of the tourists’ bowlers when Kumara struck his first blow.
Keen to expose the West Indians’ vulnerability to short-pitched bowling on the line of the body, which was quite noticeable in their last series in New Zealand six months earlier, Kumara unsettled both batsmen with his hostility on a placid pitch.
Yet it was a full-pitched delivery which accounted for Powell, the upright left-hander being bowled off the inside-edge for 38 by a ball which swung sharply back into the batsman.