PHIL Simmons, coach of the West Indies cricket team, has applauded the knock of Sri Lanka’s all-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva, who made an unbeaten 153 as Sri Lanka, in their second innings, closed on 328 runs for eight wickets, for an overall lead of 279.
And Simmons conceded that it is more likely that the West Indies will have to aim towards ensuring a draw on Friday’s final day of the second and final Test, at the Galle International Stadium, Galle.
In a post-day interview, via Cricket West Indies (CWI) online media, Simmons said, “98 overs (on Friday) and (nearly) 300 runs to get is a bit difficult, especially on a wicket that’s going to be turning appreciably.”
With regards to the WI team’s plans for the final day, Simmons said, “We have to make sure that when we bat like how (Dhananjaya) batted (on Thursday), with an air of calm, an attitude that I want to score all the time, and bat out the day.
“That’s what we’ll be looking to do, if we can’t win the game.”
Sri Lanka entered the day on 46/2, trailing the West Indies by three runs. But De Silva’s innings (259 deliveries, 11 fours and two sixes) has all but put the game beyond the West Indies’ reach.
De Silva has featured in an unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 107 with Lasith Embuldeniya, who is on 25 not out.
The pair came together before tea, with the score on 221/8.
Asked if the WI team were outplayed in the final session, Simmons replied, “No. I think (De Silva) batted pretty well and controlled the game. It was a superb hundred.”
De Silva survived two difficult chances, off left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul. On five, WI wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva failed to hold on to an edge, from a cut shot. And, on 116, a diving Permaul was unable to grab on to a return catch, running back behind the standing umpire.
Simmons acknowledged, “We did all that we could do. The bowlers fought hard (and) bowled well. On the field, we were energetic all the time. It’s just a case that (Dhananjaya) batted well.”
The WI pace duo of Kemar Roach and Jason Holder only bowled 16 out of the 119 overs, thus far, in Sri Lanka’s second innings.
Simmons said, “It is a case where the spinners had to be used more. It’s the same with both teams, because (Suranga) Lakmal didn’t bowl much for them.” Lakmal, the lone pace bowler on Sri Lanka’s XI, delivered nine out of his team’s 104.2 overs, in the WI’s first innings.