Sri Lanka four wickets away from historic Test victory over West Indies

Sri Lanka's spin-trio of Embuldeniya (2) and Mendis (4) shatters Windies batting by removing six wickets for just 52 runs

By AFP
November 24, 2021
Sri Lankan cricketers leave the field at the end of fourth day of their first Test match against West Indies at Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on Wednesday. --AFP

GALLE: Sri Lanka just needs four wickets to win the first Test against West Indies in Galle after they leave the tourists tottering at 52-6 as bad light brought day 4 to an end. 

Giving them a 348-run target after declaring their second innings at 191-6, the Lankan spin duo of Lasith Embuldeniya (2) and Ramesh Mendis (4) shattered the Windies' top order by removing six wickets for just 18 runs, before Bonner and Joshua Da Silva took the total to 52 at the close of play. 

The sensational collapse saw the tourists lose four wickets in 15 balls for just four runs.

Mendis was the pick of the bowlers finishing with four for 17. The off-spinner had the makings of a hat-trick as he trapped Kyle Mayers leg before.

Jason Holder was expecting the ball to turn into him on the next delivery but a straight path smashed his off-stump.

Joshua da Silva walked in to face the hat-trick ball but it was wayward from Mendis, who bowled down the leg-side.

Lasith Embuldeniya accounted for Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase.

There was little hope for West Indies at 18 for six and all signs were that the game was going to end on the fourth day.

Then Nkrumah Bonner (18) and da Silva (15) batted for just over 45 minutes to hang in before the umpires called bad light.

West Indies' lowest total against Sri Lanka is 93 all out in Barbados in 2018.

Sri Lanka declared their second innings on 191 for four after a 123-run stand by Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne in just 150 deliveries.

Skipper Karunaratne, who had posted 147 in the first innings, narrowly missed twin centuries with 83, including nine fours.

He finally stumbled after attempting to cut Rahkeem Cornwall, a top edge knocking the ball off the wicketkeeper's gloves and into the hands of first slip.

Karunaratne has been prolific this year with over 850 runs now at an average of 77. He is the world's third-highest run getter in Test cricket for 2021, behind England's Joe Root and India's Rohit Sharma.

The West Indies were 230 all out in the first innings, with nine wickets falling to Sri Lanka's spinners. Left-armer Praveen Jayawickrama was the pick of the bowlers with four scalps to his name.

The fourth day's play was delayed by one hour due to rain. A total of 52 overs were lost on day three due to rain.