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Sri Lanka make solid start against Windies after rain

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Sri Lanka’s captain Dimuth Karunaratne plays a shot during the first day of the second Test cricket match against West Indies on Monday. AFP

Sri Lanka make solid start against Windies after rain

Sri Lanka’s openers started strong against the West Indies after rain stopped play until after tea in the second Test at Galle on Monday.

Match officials extended play after the hosts won the toss but stopped half an hour early with bad light after just 34.4 overs.

Pathum Nissanka outscored skipper Dimuth Karunaratne to reach his third Test fifty with a boundary driving Jason Holder straight down the ground.

He was unbeaten on 61 in 109 deliveries with four fours and a six.

“There has been lot of spin on the track and it will get worse as we move on,” Dhananjaya de Silva, due to bat at number five, told journalists.

“Anything above 300 is going to be a very good total on this track and Pathum is going to be the key for us,” he added.

Karunaratne was dismissed for 42 when he offered a return catch to Roston Chase, missing out on equalling the world record for most successive Test half-centuries, but de Silva said the captain was unfazed.

“Dimuth is a positive guy. Whether the wicket is turning or seaming he doesn’t care. He goes with a positive mindset and that rubs off to the team as well,” de Silva said.

The West Indies exhausted two reviews, first challenging a decision after a leg-before shout against Nissanka off Holder.

The tourists then argued for a caught behind with Oshada Fernando yet to score, but that too was unsuccessful.

The wicket is already offering assistance to spin bowlers and the track is expected to further deteriorate as the game progresses.

Sri Lanka made one change to the side that won the first Test by 187 runs, leaving out fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera and beefing up their batting with Charith Asalanka, marking the former under-19 captain’s Test debut.

The West Indies brought in fast bowler Kemar Roach and spinner Veerasammy Permaul, replacing Shannon Gabriel and Rahkeem Cornwall.

Permaul is playing his first Test in six years and will complement fellow left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican.

“We felt that with Roston Chase already bowling off-spin that we would be better off with two left-arm spinners,” said West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick.

“Warrican was looking good and Permaul obviously is coming after a lay off and he will be good tomorrow, I think.”

Roach, the eighth highest wicket-taker for the West Indies in Test match cricket, was a surprise omission in the first Test.

Play will get underway 15 minutes early over the next four days to catch up for lost time.

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