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Veerasammy Permaul, Jomel Warrican share nine wickets as Sri Lanka crumble for 204

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 29 November 2021 23:12

The West Indian ploy to bombard Sri Lanka's batters with left-arm spin reaped rich dividends on the second morning in Galle, as the pair of Jomel Warrican and Veerasammy Permaul picked up nine wickets between them - including career-best figures of 5 for 35 for the latter - to restrict the hosts to a first-innings total of 204. The West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood safely negotiated the four overs before lunch with little drama.

Pathum Nissanka's 148-ball 73 proved to be the highest score of the hosts' innings, alongside Dimuth Karunaratne's 42. Angelo Mathews was next with 29.

Mathews was also the last man out, his stumps rattled by one that drew him into forward defence and then spun sharply away to knock back middle stump - the quintessential left-arm spinner's dismissal, and one that highlighted just how well the visiting spinners utilised what was already an extremely obliging Galle surface.

That Mathews was even there at the end was down to him having retired hurt earlier in the session after what seemed like a recurrence of a hamstring injury. While this will likely mean that Sri Lanka are down to just the one seamer in Suranga Lakmal, that will hardly worry the home side, whose spinners will be licking their lips at the prospect of turning their arm over in the days ahead - though they will do well to match the efforts of Warrican and Permaul.

While the offspin of Roston Chase at times lacked a bit of control - he was guilty of pitching it too short at times on the second morning - the pair of Warrican and Permaul had no such issues. They were adroit in their lines and lengths, while Warrican in particular varied his pace and trajectory well to prevent the batters from settling down. Permaul at the other end was the epitome of discipline, with probing, consistent lines - mixed in with the odd arm ball - that would have done even the finest exponents of left-arm spin proud.

The only joy that Sri Lanka's batters managed against the pair was on the occasions they showed positive intent - either coming down the track or sweeping, a tactic that was employed quite frequently as one would expect.

But despite Sri Lanka's best efforts, it didn't take long for the cracks to appear. The overnight pair of Nissanka and Oshada Fernando lasted only seven overs in the morning before West Indies struck, with Oshada edging one that was short and wide but slightly quicker through the air from Warrican into the grateful hands of Joshua Da Silva behind the stumps.

Nissanka and Mathews stitched together another small stand, with Mathews in particular willing to use his feet. But once Nissanka fell, rapped plumb in front courtesy a Permaul arm ball, not a single Sri Lanka partnership managed to last more than 16 balls from thereon. In fact, it took Permaul just two deliveries after Nissanka's wicket to remove Dhananjaya de Silva, getting one to spin away just enough from the batter to entice a thick edge that Da Silva did well to hold onto after a brief juggle.

Charith Asalanka was the next to go; he had looked good on debut, reverse-sweeping just his second ball for a boundary, but when Permaul spun one back into his forward defence, he could only manage to lob catch to short leg via his bat and pad. Shortly thereafter, Mathews would retire hurt, and it wasn't long before the other elder statesman in the squad, Dinesh Chandimal, would be trapped in front sweeping Warrican.

Warrican would then coax Ramesh Mendis into a leading edge that found its way to the fielder at cover, before Permaul would get Lasith Embuldeniya and Lakmal over the space of two overs to complete his five-for. A few lofty hits by Mathews at the end though would push Sri Lanka beyond the 200-mark, which may still prove to be a good total on this surface.
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