Spinners put Sri Lanka within touching distance of a win
Sri Lanka are just four wickets away from a win, having reduced West Indies to 52/6 at stumps on day four at Galle.
The rain kept players in the dressing rooms as the start of play was delayed. Once action on day four began, it didn’t take Sri Lanka too long to wrap up the West Indies innings, with Praveen Jayawickrama trapping Shannon Gabriel in front of the stumps to complete his four-for. The Windies added only five runs to their overnight score and were bundled out for 230, giving the hosts a lead of 156 runs.
West Indies chose to operate with spin at one end right from the beginning and the move paid immediate dividends. After two close chances in the third over, Pathum Nissanka’s luck ran out as Shai Hope completed a good diving catch at leg slip.
With lots of spin on offer on the fourth-day surface, the spinners induced many false shots and created several wicket-taking chances.
Oshada Fernando’s stay at the crease didn’t last too long, with Jomel Warrican trapping him leg before wicket.
Angelo Mathews joined Dimuth Karunaratne at the crease and with the ball getting older, run-scoring became a lot easier for the experienced duo. The two batters started to find the boundaries more frequently and ensured that
Sri Lanka go into lunch without losing more wickets with a healthy lead of 240.
They continued to show good intent even after the break, finding two fours in the two overs to keep the pressure on the West Indies bowlers. Mathews and Karunaratne soon switched gears and went into white-ball mode, with the six overs between 29-34 fetching them 49 runs, including eight boundaries. Karunaratne’s rich vein of form continued as he brought up his half-century, registering a 50+ score for a sixth innings in a row. Mathews wasn’t one to be left behind as he too got to his fifty in 70 balls.
In dire need of a wicket, Rahkeem Cornwall answered West Indies’ call by breaking the 123-run stand between the two, scalping the wicket of Karunaratne for 83. One wicket brought two for the visitors as Warrican completed a simple caught and bowled to dismiss Dhananjaya de Silva.
With declaration on the horizon, Mathews sent a couple of balls over the ropes. Sri Lanka soon declared the innings on 191/4, setting West Indies a target of 348.
Ramesh Mendis struck early for Sri Lanka, with Kraigg Brathwaite making the long walk back for a duck, which began the steady procession of wickets.
Jermaine Blackwood got a lifeline after he was dropped at slips, but he didn’t make much of the reprieve as Mathews completed a good, low catch three balls later.
Mendis and Embuldeniya went through the defences of Shai Hope and Roston Chase respectively and rattled the stumps. Mendis was on a hattrick in his next over, with Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder dismissed off consecutive balls as West Indies lost six wickets with just 18 runs on the board.
Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua Da Silva ensured no more wickets fell on the day as they put on an unbeaten 34-run partnership before bad light forced umpires to call it a day.
SL 1st innings 386 all out
Sri Lanka 2nd innings
P. Nissanka c S. Hope b R. Cornwall 03
D.h Karunaratne c J. Blackwood b R. Cornwall 83
O. Fernando lbw J. Warrican 14
A. Mathews Not Out 69
D. de Silva c&b J. Warrican 01
D. Chandimal Not Out 10
Extras 8b 2lb 1nb 0pen 0w 11
Total (40.5 overs) 191 for 4 wickets decl
Fall of Wickets: 1-4 Nissanka, 2-39 Fernando, 3-162 Karunaratne, 4-163 de Silva
Bowling: Rahkeem Cornwall 15.5-0-60-2, Jason Holder 5-0-19-0, Roston Chase 6-1-28-0, Jomel Warrican 9-1-42-2, Shannon Gabriel 4-0-23-0, Kraigg Brathwaite 1-0-9-0
West Indies 1st innings 230 all out
West Indies 2nd innings
K. Brathwaite lbw R. Mendis 00
J. Blackwood c A. Mathews b L. Embuldeniya 09
Nkrumah Bonner Not Out 18
Shai Hope b Ramesh Mendis 03
Roston Chase b Lasith Embuldeniya 01
Kyle Mayers lbw Ramesh Mendis 02
Jason Holder b Ramesh Mendis 00
Joshua Da Silva Not Out 15
Extras 0b 4lb 0nb 0pen 0w 04
Total (25.3 overs) 52-6
Fall of Wickets: 1-3 Brathwaite, 2-11 Blackwood, 3-14 Hope, 4-15 Chase, 5-18 Mayers, 6-18 Holder
Bowling: Lasith Embuldeniya 10- 3-18- 2, Ramesh Mendis 11 -1-17-4, Praveen Jayawickrama 4-2-8-0, Dhananjaya de Silva 0.3-0-5-0