Simmons believes Windies win will be difficult following Sri Lankan resistance on day four.

By December 02, 2021

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says Sri Lanka’s resistance on the penultimate day of the second Test match in Galle will make it difficult for the West Indies to level the two-match series.

Sri Lanka began the day 46-2 from 21 overs and batted out the day to reach 328-8 from 119 overs, thanks to a brilliant unbeaten 153 from Dhananjaya de Silva.

The Sri Lankans now have a lead of 279 runs heading into the fifth and final day with two wickets still in hand.

Simmons says with 98 overs on the final day, a target close to 300 would be a tough one for his team.

“Ninety-eight overs tomorrow and 300 runs to get is a little bit difficult, especially on a wicket that’s going to be turning a lot,” he said after a frustrating day for his players.

So far in Sri Lanka’s second innings, West Indies spinners have accounted for 95 of the 119 overs bowled but Simmons doesn’t believe the quick bowlers were underutilized.

“Not really. I think it was a case where the spinners had to be used more. The fast bowlers were used accordingly. That’s the situation with both teams because Lakmal didn’t bowl much for them,” he said.

Simmons also praised Dhananjaya for playing well rather than blaming his troops for taking their foot off the gas.

“I think Dhananjaya batted really well and controlled the game. The wicket wasn’t ragging as much as we thought it would on the fourth day and he controlled the innings. It was a superb hundred. I think he played us out of the game,” Simmons said while offering some hope for his side with the pitch seemingly improving for batting as the match progresses.

“The pitch looks to be good still. I think in the first Test too, on the fifth day, the pitch was still good and this pitch seems to be as good as that so when it’s rolled tomorrow, we’ll see how it plays out.” 

When asked about his message to the team after such a tough afternoon session, Simmons said sometimes you just have to credit the opposition for playing well.

“Just have to appreciate the fact that some days you meet people who just play well. We fought hard. The bowlers fought hard. We did all that we could do. On the field we were energetic all the time so it’s just that he batted well,” he said.

The West Indies coach concluded by saying that his team should emulate how Dhananjaya played when it is their turn to bat on day five.

“We just have to make sure we bat with an attitude of wanting to score all the time while attempting to bat out the day. That’s what you should be looking to do if you can’t win the game,” he said.

Day five begins at 11:15 pm local time.

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