Bonner, Mayers take Windies towards draw in first Test
Nkrumah Bonner and Kyle Mayers were batting the West Indies to safety at 181 for two at tea, having been set the daunting target of 375, against Sri Lanka on the fifth and final day of the first Test in Antigua on Thursday.
Having missed out on hundreds in each of his first two Test matches in Bangladesh last month, Bonner was again edging towards the landmark on 84 at the interval, having defied the opposition’s bowlers for more than five hours, starting from previous evening.
He had faced 204 deliveries and struck eight fours and one six.
Mayers, who marked his Test debut on that Bangladesh campaign with a sensational, match-winning unbeaten 210 in the first game in Chattogram, curbed his naturally aggressive style admirably in reaching fifty just before the interval after more than three hours in the middle, facing 109 balls and stroking five boundaries.
Their third-wicket partnership was worth 103 since Mayers joined Bonner after Kraigg Brathwaite was the lone success for the Sri Lankans in the first two hours’ play of the day.
Having batted with exaggerated care in getting to 23 off 124 balls, the West Indies captain charged down the pitch at left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya to be bowled 20 minutes before the end of the session, terminating a partnership of 66 for the second wicket.
While it appears that the match is heading for a draw, the West Indies will be wary of complacency which could lead to the breakthrough which may open the door still for the visitors to press for victory in the final session.
More unlikely is the prospect of a West Indies victory with 194 runs needed, although the unnecessary caution exercised by Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne in the field suggests that he remained wary, at least in the afternoon session, of the home side mounting a serious challenge.