Lasith Embuldeniya 5- 46 aids Sri Lanka beat threatening rain and West Indies
Sri Lanka 386 (Karunaratne 147, Chase 5-83) and 191 for 4 dec (Karunaratne 83, Mathews 69*) beat West Indies 230 (Jayawickrama 4-40) and 160 (Bonner 68*, Embuldeniya 5-46) by 187 runs
Nkrumah Bonner scoffed Sri Lanka for 173 balls on day five, Joshua Da Silva joined him for a 100-run, (44.4-over stand) , but even though the sky was swaying with drab clouds, rain did not come until minutes after Sri Lanka took the last wicket to seal victory in Galle.
Having swept through West Indies’ top order on the fourth evening, Sri Lanka’s spinners were made to sweat on day five, bowling 48.3 overs for the last four wickets. Offspinner Ramesh Mendis had begun the day with four wickets to his name,but could not add even one more wicket to have a five wicket haul but it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who ended with a five-wicket haul – the third of his 11-Test career – claiming all but one of the wickets that fell on day five. Praveen Jayawickrama took the other one. Between them, Sri Lanka’s three frontline spinners took 18 wickets in the 187-run resounding victory.
Wily Dimuth Karunaratne invokes his own luck .Bonner and da Silva fought intense during their morning struggle, trying few run-scoring strokes, and normally demonstrating a degree of intensity and purpose concealed from West Indies’ batsmen so far in the match. The duo had distinct patterns of batting – Da Silva more relaxed on the front foot, and the more prone of the two to sweep, and switch strike.
They each had decent luck. On a perilous track, there were edges that fell short of slip, airborne mis-hits that settled in space, deliveries that scarcely missed the stumps and the outside edge, missed chances as well. Da Silva could have been run out on 19 when the pair tried a quick single, but the cover fielder’s throw missed the stumps. He could have been caught on 23 when he inside edged a big-whirling Mendis delivery, but Pathum Nissanka could not hold on to a difficult opportunity at leg slip, leaping to his right. Later, Nissanka would grass another difficult chance at short leg, this time off Bonner. But so prolonged as the rain held off, it seemed as if Sri Lanka would continue to create chances, so rapid was the turn off the surface.
With Da Silva’s removal in the half-hour before lunch, West Indies’ chances of acquiring a draw plunged significantly. He had completed a fifty off 121 balls, but was squared up by a spinning Embuldeniya delivery a few overs later, with the consequent edge was held by Dhananjaya de Silva at slip.
Rahkeem Cornwall then joined Bonner, and put in a shift that lasted 46 balls until he ran out of patience, toe-edging a catch to mid-off when he attempted to heave Jayawickrama down the ground. Warrican, the No. 10, saw out 20 balls before he gave a bat-pad catch to silly mid-off. Shannon Gabriel, whom Bonner was trying frantically to safeguard from the strike, was also cleared up and caught at slip off Embuldeniya, after a six-ball stay. Bonner stayed unbeaten on 68 off 220 balls a very creditable effort. Sri Lanka’s spinners were made to sweat on day five, bowling 48.3 overs for the last four wickets
The victory was perhaps just reward for Sri Lanka, whose top order led by Dimuth Karunaratne had ruled in both innings, and whose spinners used helpful circumstances well. They earn 12 World Test Championship points in their first match this new cycle. West Indies also have 12 points, but have played three matches.