Rain postpones West Indies-Sri Lanka to Monday
Torrential showers forced the abandonment of play after 19 overs of the fifth match of the Tri-Nation Series between the West Indies and Sri Lanka at the Queen's Park Oval on Sunday.
Weather permitting, the match will continue on the reserve day, Monday, with the Sri Lankans at 60 for three and seeking to recover from a wobbly opening after they were put in to bat by West Indies stand-in captain Kieron Pollard.
Left-handers Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne were left to repair the early damage done to their batting line-up by the Barbadian fast bowling pair of Kemar Roach and Jason Holder who exploited the humid conditions and a pitch offering disconcerting pace and bounce.
Playing his first match of the tournament after specialist spinner Sunil Narine was sidelined by a finger injury, the gangling Holder made the early strike, removing Upul Tharanga via a superb catch by Darren Bravo at cover after the opening batsman was missed in the previous over by wicketkeeper Johnson Charles off Roach.
Roach's luck turned just a few minutes later when the experienced and prolific former captain Mahela Jayawardene top-edged an attempted pull onto his helmet and the rebound lobbed into the grateful hands of Devon Smith at square-leg.
The diminutive fast bowler then produced the classic off-cutter to breach the defence of Dinesh Chandimal, hitting the top of his off-stump and leaving Sri Lanka in considerable trouble at 29 for three in the seventh over.
Under increasingly overcast conditions, Sangakkara and Thirimanne worked to stem the tide, eliminating risks and quietly accumulating runs while also benefitting from the surprising indiscipline of the three fastest bowlers in the West Indies armoury as 16 wides and two no-balls helped the visitors along.
In contrast, Darren Sammy completed four overs of controlled medium-pace at a cost of just four runs, including two maidens.
Disappointingly for the match and the near full-house of over 15,000 spectators, the expected showers arrived at mid-morning, increasing in sustained intensity to leave the ground waterlogged. With no indication of a break in the weather, umpires Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson had little option but to declare an abandonment of play at 1.30 p.m.
While there is hope of a resumption of the match on the reserve day, a repetition of the heavy showers cannot be ruled out. July is the rainiest month of the year in Trinidad and local cricket authorities had previously steered clear of hosting any international matches in the latter half of the year for precisely that reason.
Should inclement weather, or any other factor, prevent the match from being completed, a no-result will be declared and the points shared, a situation that will qualify the West Indies for the July 11 final.
Sri Lanka now face a challenging prospect to get to the final as improved weather on Monday could see them playing virtually a full match and then returning to the Queen's Park Oval on Tuesday for the scheduled final preliminary fixture.