Just have a look at the West Indies Test unit. Well, for the modern-day fans, who actually think that the Caribbean Cricket is all about turning beat on in the Twenty20 Leagues, then, there is nothing much for them – this is an inexperienced unit who loves to play Test cricket rather than taking those Twenty20 leagues too seriously and when they play out there, they actually curb their whims and perform as a unit – they fight for the Maroon Cap.

During the Test series against Bangladesh, the fighting spirit was evident and because this is West Indies, the expectations always remain low – the West Indian Test train can derail in the very next series. Thankfully, the eagerness to fight for the Maroon Cap exists.

On the final day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at North Sound, Nkrumah Bonner displayed the character of a Test batsman – occupied the crease hours after hours, faced 274 balls, blunted the Sri Lankan pacers, negotiated the left-arm orthodox bowling of Lasith Embuldeniya and held one end firm so that West Indies does not collapse.

Obviously, he was well supported by the skipper Kraigg Braithwaite, Kyle Mayers, and Jason Holder. He finished the day unbeaten on 113 and it was never easy out there because the Lankan bowlers were disciplined and hardly gave the West Indian batters to breathe easily – patience and determination are the keys to survive and for many years, West Indies, plagued by the Twenty20 leagues, have rediscovered the stability through these boys.

Despite the historic run chase of 395 at Chattogram last month, the intent of West Indies on Day 5 was different – curb the adventurous thoughts and focus on occupying the crease.

The deck had lost its pace a lot and run-scoring was never easy against the doughy bowling of the visitors.

When Dimuth Karunaratne decided that no result was possible and called off the rest of the match, West Indies had 236 for four.

Mayers was the only other batsman to pass fifty, but Brathwaite had batted out 124 balls in the innings.

It had been an outstanding effort under the given circumstances and it would have never been possible if the Sri Lankans had not dished out a fantastic batting effort in their second innings.

In the first innings, their story was quite familiar.

17 for 1 became 29 for 2 then it turned out to be 54 for 3 and after a while, it was 74 for 4 and 92 for 5.

Man, the Lankan collapse was annoying – they were bundled out for 169 with Lahiru Thirimanna notching up a fighting 70-run.

169-all-out was their second-lowest first-innings score in the Caribbean. The lowest had also been recorded by this team, essentially, in 2018, though the fast bowlers had gone on to rally and win that game in Barbados.

They did spend 69.4 overs out there, largely because of Thirimanne who faced 184 balls for his sturdy 70.

Jason Holder picked up 5 wickets and his nagging line and incisive length seem to get sharper and sharper day by day.

In reply, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando Dusmantha Chameera, and Embuldeniya had West Indies on the mats until Rahkeem Cornwall joined Joshua Da Silva at the crease.

All the specialist batsmen had been dismissed, and the second new ball was around the corner, with West Indies leading by just two runs.

ESPNcricinfo stated, “But Cornwall, intent on proving he is a better batsman than his Test stats suggested, began to free his arms midway through the third session, hitting thumping blows down the ground, cracking seamers on the up, pulling ferociously, cutting on occasion, and generally imposing himself on the match in a manner that no batsmen had previously managed on this pitch. By day’s end, he was not out on 60 off 79 balls – 48 of those runs having come from boundaries (nine fours, two sixes).”

“His 90-run eighth-wicket stand with Da Silva, who contributed only 29 to the partnership, broke the match open for the West Indies. Where before Cornwall’s arrival it seemed as if the teams were in for a second-innings scrap, West Indies had achieved a commanding position by stumps – a triple-figure lead almost in hand. Cornwall had Kemar Roach for company at stumps, the team score at 268 for 8.”

West Indie stretched the lead to 102 and it was time for Sri Lanka to dig deep and correct the mistakes of the first innings.

Pathum Nissanka was the debutante and he lit up the domestic cricket with a brilliant show. But he was thrown into the limited versions where he did not flourish, still, featured in the first Test and after failing in the first outing, he was shining brightly in the second.

Thrimanne’s patience was on show again, Oshada Fernando got things going and Dhanajaya de Silva was among the runs, but the most vital part was the knocks played by Nissanka and Niroshan Dickwella.

Dickwell did not lose his cool and batted sensibly – faced 163 balls to swell the lead and support Nissanka, who faced 252 balls for his Test hundred on debut – the last time a Lankan batter had notched up a hundred on debut was Thilan Samaraweera and it was 20 years ago. Since then, the Lankans have not experienced such a feat – the widening gap between the standard of domestic cricket and international one has always been under the scanner, but at least, this hundred by debut would a boost to the system.

In that effective sixth-wicket stand of 179 between Nissanka and Dickwella, the debutante looked matured enough was never bogged down by the different line of attack applied by the West Indian bowlers.

From 169 to 476 had been a huge improvement and a morale-boosting one, and the same old thing can be stated about faring well – keep the basics right, the success would come and never lose the fighting spirit.

The West Indians followed the same and in the end, it turned out to be a very enjoyable Test match.

Well played West Indies and Sri Lanka.

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