West Indies added nine runs in 29 balls

Galle (Sri Lanka) (AFP) - Rain forced an early end with the West Indies tail still hanging on after avoiding the follow-on for day three of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Tuesday.

The West Indies added nine runs in 30 balls and lost Rahkeem Cornwall in a brief passage of play after lunch before the heavens opened. The forecast for the next two days was more wet weather.

With the new ball due, Suranga Lakmal was called up to bowl the 79th over of the West Indies innings from the City End and he dismissed Cornwall.

Lakmal bowled a short ball and Cornwall could not resist the pull shot, but got the execution wrong and was caught by Ramesh Mendis running backwards from mid-wicket. Cornwall made 39 off 58 balls with five fours and a six.

But the 49-run stand between Cornwall and Joshua da Silva ensured the West Indies avoided the follow-on.

After a brief pause in the rain, umpires inspected the field and decided to resume play. Another downpour soon washed out the final session before it began, threatening to spoil Sri Lanka’s early advantage.

“We are hoping and praying the weather gods are kind to us,” said Sri Lanka spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunga, who was disappointed his spinners had failed to dispatch the tourists before the rain, despite accounting for eight wickets between them.

“Not a hundred percent happy with the way we went about things,” he said.

“The boys are excited and they try too many things without sticking to basics. Patience is the key and they need to learn.”

Play will resume early for the final two days to make up lost time, with 98 overs scheduled for each.

Earlier, Sri Lanka had posted 386 all out after electing to bat first. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne scored his 13th Test hundred, going on to make 147 while Dhananjaya de Silva (61) and Pathum Nissanka (56) scored half-centuries.

The West Indies collapsed to 113 for six at stumps on day two but recovered thanks to a rearguard action by the lower order. Kyle Mayers (45), Jason Holder (36) and Cornwall (39) all chipped in.

The side’s only warm-up game ahead of the series, a four-day match against Board President’s XI in Colombo, was called off without a ball being bowled, due to rain.