GALLE – Nkrumah Bonner is holding out hope of West Indies saving the opening Test against Sri Lanka, despite the precarious position in which the touring side find themselves ahead of Thursday’s final day.
West Indies resume on 52 for six in their second innings in pursuit of an improbable victory target of 348 at Galle International Stadium in Sri Lanka, after conceding a first innings lead of 156 on Wednesday’s penultimate day.
“We have [about 90 overs] to bat tomorrow (Thursday) and if me and Josh (Joshua Da Silva) can bat the majority of that, [West Indies can save the game],” said Nkrumah Bonner, unbeaten on 18 at the close and partnered by wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva on 15.
“Obviously we want to play each ball on its merit, respect the bowlers and put away the bad balls. It’s a simple plan tomorrow, just to bat time and score as much runs as possible.”
West Indies flirted with their lowest-ever Test total when they were reduced to 18 for six after tea as off-spinner Ramesh Mendis (4-17) and left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (2-18) ripped apart the innings with the new ball.
Bonner, however, along with Da Silva combined to add 34 for the seventh wicket to help West Indies avoid that indignity, while also keeping their side’s slim hopes alive of saving the encounter.
And while the odds will be firmly stacked against the Caribbean side, Bonner said there was still great belief in the camp.
“[The mood] is the best I’ve seen since I’ve been playing for West Indies so obviously that is up,” the Jamaican explained.
“So the energy is right and tomorrow hopefully we can come and do the job.”
West Indies were bowled out in their first innings at the start of the day for 230 after resuming on 224 for nine, and then watched as Sri Lanka quickly gathered 191 for four, before declaring on the stroke of tea.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne top-scored with 83 while former skipper Angelo Mathews belted an unbeaten 69, as West Indies struggled to limit the scoring.
West Indies have chased the game ever since losing the toss and watching Sri Lanka pile up 386, and then slumping to 113 for six in reply at the end of the second day.
And Bonner believes the home conditions had naturally provided Sri Lanka with an edge.
“Obviously they would have played here all their careers so they know what’s happening. They know how to approach it (pitch) – how to bowl on it and how to bat on,” he pointed out.
“We’ve come here for a few weeks. This is my first time in Sri Lanka so basically I had to make an adjustment and I’m sure most of the players will have to do too.”
West Indies are yet to win a single Test in Sri Lanka in nine previous attempts.