Rahkeem Cornwall made an unbeaten half-century and combined in a 90-run eighth-wicket partnership with Joshua Da Silva which guided the West Indies to a 99-run lead over Sri Lanka on the second day of the first Test.
Cornwall was 60 not out at stumps, the first Antiguan to score a Test half-century at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Wicketkeeper Da Silva made 46 and held together the West Indies lower middle-order as they edged past Sri Lanka's first innings of 169. The home side matched that total with six wickets down and Cornwall and Da Silva carried them to 268-8 at stumps.
Da Silva's patient stand was the most important of the innings until it was surpassed by Cornwall. He steadied the West Indies when they were 133-5 and the match was still in the balance.
Cornwall had been determined to make a statement with the bat. He told a local reporter before the match to "tell the world I've come to make a score."
The burly 1.96-meter paceman was as good as his word, reaching his first test 50 from 62 balls and breaking the mould on a day of slow scoring with nine fours and two sixes.
"I know I have good batting skills," Cornwall said.
"I just tried at first to bat with Joshua, try to get us to a good score and just try to bat myself. I was confident. I've been putting in some work in the nets with the batting coach and I told myself I have to score some runs, I'm not doing as well as I can do with the bat."
The partnership between Cornwall and Da Silva changed the course of the match. Earlier, Sri Lanka had bowled well to contain the West Indies' batsmen.
A 56-run second-wicket partnership between John Campbell (42) and Nkrumah Bonner (31) was the best effort by the West Indies top order. But veteran Sri Lanka paceman Suranga Lakmal made inroads into the West Indies line-up, taking 5-45, his fourth five-wicket bag in Tests.
Lakmal dismissed West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite (3), then removed Kyle Mayers when he looked dangerous on 45. He returned to bowl Jermaine Blackwood (2) and Jason Holder (19), leaving the West Indies 169-6. Alzarri Joseph (0) was his fifth wicket.
The West Indies were 261-7 when Joshua was out shortly before stumps, caught behind after being lured into a loose shot by a short ball from Dushmantha Chameera.