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WI vs SL | 1st Test Day 2: Rakheem Cornwall overpowers Lakmal's fifer to put Windies at top

A dominating lower order partnership between Rakheem Cornwall and wicket-keeper batsman Joshua Da Silva put West Indies in an advantageous position on the second day of the first Test being played at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. 

By the end of the second day’s play, Windies have secured a vital lead of 99 runs with two wickets including the danger man Rakheem Cornwall still in their hands. 

Da Silva was dismissed off a short ball of Chameera but not before the duo added 90 important runs when the situation seemed that the hosts will squander ll the advantage by bowling Sri Lanka for a middling score.

Cornwall struck two sixes and 9 fours in his unbeaten 60 runs from 79 balls and his counter attack literally took the heart out of the Sri Lanka bowling attack. He was severe against both spinners and pacers and used all the power he had in his wrists to put Windies on the driving seat in the game.

Starting the second day after knocking the tourists out for a less than 200 score, Windies batsmen had to bat well to put the team in a driving position. The start was horrible though as the new skipper Kraig Brathwaite was cooler in his batting style than it was visible in his career before, and there was an unusual waft outside off as well. He gifted his wicket away fairly early in the day to Suranga Lakmal.

The middle-order pair of Nkrumah Bonner and Kyle Mayers were rewarded with slots at the number three and four positions for their excellent performances in Bangladesh.

Bonner was lacing in discipline though and presented the Sri Lankan bowlers with an early opportunity with poor shots outside the off stump. At the other end, Campbell was highly watchful and batting with surety around off stump. He looked set with his eyes on a big prize and eager to not throw his wickets away for which he has always taken flakes from critics.

Bonner settled down after early hiccups to take the full toll of scoring opportunities presented by Chameera. However, his fluency at the crease did not last long and the greed to take on a back fo alength delivery from Lasith Embuldeniya saw him plumb in front while attempting to pull.

After Bonner’s fall, the hero of the triumph in Bangladesh—Kayle Mayers came to the crease and he started his innings where he left off in the subcontinent. He was dismissive against spinners hit them down the ground while attempts to bounce him out by Chameera was smashed over square leg boundary.

The partnership between him and Campbell could not last long enough for West Indies to have total control of the proceedings and Chameera got the better of the opener to keep the game in the balance. 

Another quick wicket of Jermaine Blackwood pegged Windies back and Sri Lanka were sniffing a big chance to get the hosts bundled out before they could take the lead.

Mayers carried on his merry way and took Vishwa Fernando for a couple of boundaries to keep the scoreboard going for the hosts while Jason Holder found it tough to get going. But, for Windies’ plight, Lakmal retired to account for Mayers to send Windies on the brink of a collapse that would have ruined their chances of getting an upper hand.

Lamkmal bowled scattered spells throughout the day as Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne kept on searching for breakthroughs while defending a very middling score. The pacer did not disappoint him one bit and found another good delivery to send Holder back to the pavilion. He did not miss the chance to bag another fifer and with the wicket of Akzarri Joseph, reached the milestone in his 21st over of the first innings.

With 171/7, Windies were ahead of Sri Lanka’s first innings total, but not by much that would have put real pressure on the tourists. 

Lanka smelled a sniff and attacked the pair of Da Silva and Cornwall with pace and spin. However, for Windies, Cornwall emerged as the new hero with the bat and put every bowler to the sword and by the end of the day’s play Windies were ahead by a significant margin in the first innings of the first Test.

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