West Indies 69 for 1 (Blackwood 44, Brathwaite 22*, Bonner 1*, Jayawickrama 1-11) trail Sri Lanka 204 (Nissanka 73, Karunaratne 42, Permaul 5-35, Warrican 4-50) by 135 runs
Rain allowed for just half a day's play on the second day of the second and final Test in Galle, but West Indies took big strides towards squaring the series in that short time. Following a morning session that brought nine Sri Lankan wickets for just 91 runs, West Indies came up with a solid batting display after lunch, bringing the gap to 135 runs for the loss of only Jermaine Blackwood's wicket before the rain came. Kraig Brathwaite was unbeaten on 22 off 77 deliveries, and alongside him was Nkrumah Bonner on 1.
In an, albeit brief, afternoon session largely devoid of any genuinely pulse-racing action, it was only Blackwood's dismissal - and his subsequent poorly judged review for an lbw off a Praveen Jayawickrama arm ball - as well as an unsuccessful review from the hosts a short while later against Brathwaite, that brought momentary excitement.
This was largely down to the fact that neither Blackwood nor Brathwaite were compelled to take any undue risks, and, as a result, neither was really tested. Both looked relatively at ease throughout their stay - whether moving deep into the crease to counter the turn late or planting a big front foot to get to the pitch - but notably steered clear of the sweeps and sauntering down the pitch that had been a hallmark of the Sri Lankan innings earlier.
This meant that they were content to wait for the bad balls - primarily ones pitched too short - to score boundaries, though it was really only Blackwood that showed any semblance of positive intent in that regard. His 99-ball 44 came with five fours.
The Sri Lankan spinners, for their part, struggled to get the same purchase off the pitch that the likes of Jomel Warrican and Veerasammy Permaul, who finished with career-best figures of 5 for 35, had extracted so effortlessly earlier in the day. Indeed, perhaps buoyed by what they had seen in the morning, the Sri Lankan spinners were arguably a little too eager. On several occasions, they strayed too full, while on others they erred on the shorter side. On the occasions that they did find their lengths, the West Indian batters were coaxed into false strokes, which in the end brought about Blackwood's wicket.
The general pared back nature of that session was in stark contrast to the morning session, when Warrican and Permaul had run riot. They were adroit with their lines and lengths, and Warrican in particular varied his pace and trajectory well to prevent the batters from settling down. Permaul was the epitome of discipline, with probing, consistent lines - mixed in with the odd arm ball - that would have done even the finest exponents of left-arm spin proud.
After some brief early resistance from the batters, Warrican was rewarded when he induced Oshada Fernando into edging a cut to Joshua Da Silva behind the stumps. Oshada's overnight partner, Pathum Nissanka, was the next to go, trapped plumb in front courtesy a Permaul arm ball. There was no partnership of note after that, as Warrican and Permaul ran through the line-up, picking up a wicket nearly every other over - though Charith Asalanka's reverse sweep to score his first runs in Test cricket will certainly be remembered fondly.
To compound matters for Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews was forced to retire hurt, with what has now been confirmed as a thigh strain. While he is almost certainly not going to bowl in this game - he was due to open the bowling alongside Sri Lanka's only other seamer, Suranga Lakmal - he showed that he could be called upon with the bat if needed. He returned to the crease towards the end of the innings, and proceeded to launch some big blows to take Sri Lanka beyond the 200 mark, before receiving an absolute ripper from Warrican that zipped past his forward defence to knock back middle stump and bring the innings to an end.