Dowrich, Holder lead fightback but rain wrecks first day

Rain severely disrupted the first day’s play of the third and final test match between the West Indies and Sri Lanka in Barbados yesterday. (Photo courtesy Cricket West Indies)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich stroked an unbeaten half-century to lead a West Indies fightback, but rain wrecked the opening day of the historic day/night Test here Saturday.

Opting to bat first on a grassy Kensington Oval pitch, West Indies stumbled to 24 for four early in the day’s play before recovering to end on 132 for five, courtesy of Dowrich’s unbeaten 60.

He has so far shared a crucial unbroken sixth wicket stand of 79 with captain Jason Holder who has been solid in scoring an unbeaten 33.

Together, they pulled West Indies around from 53 for five just after lunch when Shai Hope perished for 11, to leave the innings in strife.

However, rain dominated the headlines, causing three interruptions and allowing only 46.3 overs. Just under an hour’s play was possible in each of the last two sessions, frustrating players and putting a damper on the historic occasion.

Kasun Rajitha snapped up two for 36 while fellow seamer Suranga Lakmal, leading the squad in the absence of the suspended Dinesh Chandimal, ended with two for 42.

In a match being played on the 90th anniversary of the West Indies’ first ever Test, the home side made a terrible start to the afternoon when veteran left-hander Devon Smith edged the last ball of the day’s first over from Lakmal to be caught at third slip by Dhananjaya de Silva for two.

Lakmal then accounted for the other opener Kraigg Brathwaite for two a few overs later, the right-handed stabbing at a short one to be caught by Danushka Gunathilaka running in from point.

And West Indies were in further trouble when left-hander Kieran Powell was taken at second slip by Kusal Mendis for four, edging a length ball from Kumara.

Rain arrived with the hosts on 12 for three and kept players off the field for nearly an hour and when they returned, Roston Chase added a further 12 runs to his tally before losing his middle stump on the drive in Kasun Rajitha’s first over, to fall for 14.

Dowrich and Hope added 29 for the fifth wicket, a partnership which took the Windies to lunch on 46 for four.

Hope, mostly circumspect through his innings, failed to add to his interval score of 11 when he perished in the third over after the resumption, snared at second slip by Mendis off seame Rajitha, with seven runs added.

With the innings begging for a partnership of merit, Holder joined Dowrich to repair the innings, safely negotiating the varied Sri Lankan attack while remaining unfazed by the rain interruptions.

Dowrich, already with a hundred and a half-century in the series, has faced 101 balls in nearly 2-1/2 hours at the crease and struck eight fours.

Holder, meanwhile, has hit six fours in an innings spanning 70 deliveries and almost 1-3/4 hours.

The post-lunch session lasted a mere 56 minutes and 12.3 overs, before the rains arrived to force an early tea on 88 for five.

And when play finally resumed at 9:15 pm, only another 57 minutes and 13 overs were possible before the weather ended play for the night.

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