KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Sunil Ambris struck an imperious second hundred of the series to further strongly advance his claims for higher duty, but another calamitous batting collapse left West Indies “A” under pressure to win the rain-hit, decisive third “Test” against Sri Lanka “A” on Friday.
Ambris gave the West Indies selection panel 101 more reasons why he should be travelling with the senior team for the Test series in New Zealand later this year, but no other Windies “A” batsman could match his endurance and they were bowled out for 181 in their first innings, after they chose to bat on the scheduled second day at Sabina Park.
The tall, languid Vincentian struck eight fours and two sixes from 156 balls in close to three hours of dominance of the Sri Lankan attack in the face of a destructive spell of 4-67 in 23 overs from troublesome left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara to whom he fell soon after reaching his landmark.
With the series tied 1-1 and a day lost to wet conditions due to rain, Sri Lanka “A” fortified their chances of a decisive victory, when they reached 132 for three at the close with their prolific captain Dhananjaya De Silva leading the charge on 58 not out and Roshen Silva not out on 15.
West Indies “A” failed to ease concerns about their batting durability, when they ran into trouble at 71 for six in the first session, and they never recovered from the slide.
Opener Montcin Hodge was bowled by Kasun Rajitha for four in the third over and the struggles of Windies “A” captain Shamarh Brooks continued when he fell for four to Lahiru Kumara in the following over.
Left-hander John Campbell was lbw to Shehan Jayasuriya’s off-spin for eight in the 10th over, and two overs later, Jahmar Hamilton was caught behind off the same bowler for two, bringing Ambris to the crease.
Before he could get into stride however, left-hander Vishaul Singh fell to Kumara for 15 in the next over before the first signs of any resistance from the home team came in a 36-run stand between Ambris and Rahkeem Cornwall.
But Cornwall too, feigned resolve and gave a return catch to the clever Pushpakumara which signalled Ambris to cut loose.
He took control in a stand of 60 for the seventh wicket with Damion Jacobs during which he passed 50 and further accelerated in a stand of 37 with Keon Joseph for the eighth wicket.
When Joseph became the third scalp for Pushpakumara, Ambris still needed 10 for his hundred which he duly completed before he too, gave a return catch and became the final victim of the same bowler.
Four balls later, Pushpakumara was involved in the action again, when he ran out Oshane Thomas to bring the hosts’ innings to a close.
Striving for wickets to get their side back into the game, the West Indies “A” bowlers failed to consistently hit their marks and Sri Lanka “A” were able to score freely.
Keon Joseph however, made the breakthrough, when he removed opener Ron Chandraguptha for 16 in the seventh over, and following a rain delay, added the scalp of Nipun Karunanayake caught behind for 26 to leave Sri Lanka “A” 80 for two.
Leg-spinner Damion Jacobs culled an early scalp, when Hodge held a catch to dismiss Charitha Asalanka for four, but the visitors were past 100 and were within sight of a first innings lead when stumps were drawn.
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