Discipline on slow pitch was key, says Gabriel

CMC:  

Shannon Gabriel said he managed to exploit what bounce there was in a slow pitch, en route to his third five-wicket haul in Tests, on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka yesterday.

The Trinidadian speedster ended with five for 59 as Sri Lanka, opting to bat first, were dismissed for 253 in their first innings, deep in the final session at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel sends down a delivery during day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

“I went out there this morning and concentrated on putting the ball in the right area … thankfully things went my way today,” he said afterwards.

“I think [the pitch] was a bit slow but you were still getting that bounce, and it was important you hit the right areas and the right lengths and most of the guys did that today. I think Roach and [the others] bowled well this morning but didn’t get the success they deserved.”

Gabriel struck the first two blows of the morning, removing debutant left-hander Mahela Udawatte without scoring and Dhananjaya de Silva for 12, to leave the Sri Lankans on 15 for two.

Captain Dinesh Chandimal struck an unbeaten 119, Kusal Mendis, 45 and opener Kusal Perera, 32, but Gabriel combined with new-ball partner Kemar Roach (4-49) to keep the pressure on Sri Lanka.

While pleased with the performance, Gabriel said it would take on a greater meaning if West Indies went on to beat Sri Lanka and win the series.

“It would be even greater if we could pull off a victory and it (performance) can contribute to winning the series,” he noted.

West Indies finished the day on two without loss and head into Friday’s second day looking to erase their deficit and continue their excellent batting from last week’s opening Test in Port of Spain.

And Gabriel backed the batting unit to continue to put pressure on Sri Lanka but said application would be necessary.

“Once we get good weather and the sun comes out, [the pitch] may dry out a bit and once your batsmen apply themselves and bat long, we’re capable of putting up a good score in the first innings.”

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