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Mendis nears century as Sri Lanka battle to save West Indies Test

AFP  |  Port of Spain 

led a strong Sri Lankan second innings effort but still held the advantage at stumps on day four of the first Test at the in on Saturday.

Set a daunting target of 453 when the hosts declared their second innings at 223 for seven just after lunch, the visitors reached 176 for three by the close with unbeaten on 94.

They require another 277 runs on the final day and will be hoping their Dinesh Chandimal, who retired unwell on 15 in the afternoon session, can resume his innings to bolster a team that looked completely out of contention at the start of the day's play.

Given that the world record for the highest successful run chase in the fourth innings of a Test match is 418 -- set by the against in in 2003 -- the odds are very much stacked against the Sri Lankans, especially with the pitch offering more variable bounce that could prove increasingly hazardous on the final day.

However, if can replicate the determination he showed through nearly four hours at the crease and get the support from his teammates, starting with nightwatchman Lahiru Gamage, then a draw at the very least still remains a possibility.

His innings has not been without incident, though, as he would have been given out caught behind off fast bowler when on six had opted for a television referral of the not out ruling given on the field.

Mendis, who has so far faced 186 deliveries and struck two sixes and nine fours, was also dropped on 42 by wicketkeeper off leg-spinner

It was Bishoo who claimed the final wicket of the day just before bad light ended play when he had Silva caught and bowled off a leading edge.

Gabriel had earlier despatched Mendis's opening partner Perera to a first slip catch by in the fourth over of the innings and after Chandimal left the field with his personal score on 15.

Former added 74 runs with the resolute Mendis until he fell to a leg-side catch by Dowrich off Holder for 31.

Earlier, having pushed the lead beyond the 400-run mark in the morning session when they lost three wickets and added a further 78 runs, including for a top score of 88, West Indies batted for an additional 15 minutes in the afternoon session before Holder declared.

It was the first time since the drawn 1985 fixture against in Georgetown, that the West Indies had declared in both innings of a Test match. Most of the attention in the morning session surrounded the prospect of Powell reaching a fourth Test century.

Impressing with his play in reaching 64 overnight, the left-hander looked well on course to reach three figures but an error of judgement brought an end to his innings as he failed to get to the pitch off an attempted leg-side flick off spinner Dilruwan Perera and took a good catch diving

Fast-medium bowler again led the Sri Lankan effort with figures of three for 40 to finish with seven wickets in the match.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 09:35 IST