GALLE TEST: BRIGHT SRI LANKA WIN ON A GLOOMY DAY
Ranjika Perera reporting from Galle International Stadium
Despite a stern fight-back from the Windies, Sri Lankan spinners came on top to win the first cricket Test by 187 runs, to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, on what was a gloomy, overcast day here at the Galle International Stadium yesterday (25).
Embuldeniya shines on last day
Lasith Embuldeniya, nicknamed “Embula”, took some time to settle into his rhythm in the game but when he did, he was a treat to watch. In his 61 overs in the game, he gave away only 113 runs with at an economy rate below two runs per an over. Even though he only took six wickets in the game, he was by far the most consistent bowler from both sides. Especially on the last day, when others were struggling to maintain a good line and length, “Embula” played a timely role for the hosts in getting the winning result for his team.
Da Silva and Bonner frustrate Sri Lanka
The overnight batters, Joshua Da Silva and Nkrumah Bonner, were solid in the first hour of play yesterday against everything that Sri Lanka threw at them. Apart from Embuldeniya, Sri Lanka bowlers once again wavered in their length and that made life easier for the Windies batters. The fielding didn’t help either for the Lankans with Pathum Nissanka dropping both Da Silva and Bonner at short cover. It seemed as if everything was going against the hosts until Bonner was judged LBW off Ramesh Mendis. But the television review showed that the ball was spinning away sharply missing the stumps by miles! However, Just after the pair brought up the 100-run partnership, Embuldeniya grabbed the big wicket of Da Silva.
‘Embula’ completes a five-for as Lanka complete win
After the break, Bonner reached his half-century and got another life when Skipper Karunaratne dropped him once again off Mendis’ bowling. However, a timely move from Karunaratne saw Praveen Jayawickrama deceive Rahkeem Cornwall, enticing him to go over the top, only to top edge the ball to Suranga Lakmal at mid-off. Later, Embuldeniya was brought back and he took only three overs to take the last two wickets, complete his fourth Test five-for, and, most importantly, bring much-needed victory for Sri Lanka.
Cornwall’s wicket turned things around
With rain looming around, Windies could have easily held on to a draw given how well they batted in the first session of play yesterday. But the match turned fully towards Sri Lanka with the wicket of Cornwall. He was looking fairly comfortable in the crease against the spinners. But when Karunaratne brought the field in and asked Jayawickrama to float it up, Cornwall couldn’t resist and ended up “skying” the ball to mid-off. Ironically, rain poured down just five minutes after the final West Indies wicket fell.
Sri Lanka go up the points table
With this win, Sri Lanka gained 12 points to go up the points table of the World Test Championship 2021-23 with a 100% win ratio. With series against India is up next in the locals’ Test calendar, it is vital from a Sri Lankan point-of-view, for them to get all the possible points and maintain the same 100% record by clinching the Windies series 2-0. The second Test against West Indies will start at the same venue on Monday (29).
Dominant display by the Lions
Looking back at the whole Test, Sri Lanka was on top from the word go. With the bat in hand, Karunaratne led from the front in both innings while the seniors like Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal giving valuable contributions at various phases of play. With the ball, Ramesh Mendis’ spell on the fourth-day evening gave Sri Lanka a real edge. In the first innings too, the young spin trio –Mendis, “Embula”, and Jayawickrama– were nothing short of stupendous , given how inexperienced they are so far in the Test arena.
The only worry for the Lankans would be their No. 3 batting spot. Oshada Fernando struggled in both innings and pressure is mounting on him to deliver next time while the in-form Charith Asalanka waiting in the fringes.
Sri Lanka 1st innings 386 all out
West Indies 1st innings 230 all out
Sri Lanka 2nd innings 191 all out
West Indies 2nd innings
Kraigg Brathwaite (Capt.) lbw Mendis 0
Jermaine Blackwood c Mathews b Embuldeniya 9
Nkrumah Bonner not out 68
Shai Hope b Mendis 3
Roston Chase b Embuldeniya 1
Kyle Mayers lbw Mendis 2
Jason Holder b Mendis 0
Joshua Da Silva (wk) c De Silva b Embuldeniya 54
Rahkeem Cornwall c Lakmal b Jayawickrama 13
Jomel Warrican c Fernando b Embuldeniya 1
Shannon Gabriel c De Silva b Embuldeniya 0
Extras (b4, lb 1, nb 2, wd 2)
Total (all out in 79 overs) 160
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Brathwaite, 3.4 ov), 2-11 (Blackwood, 6.4 ov), 3-14 (Hope, 9.1 ov), 4-15 (Chase, 10.2 ov), 5-18 (Mayers, 11.3 ov), 6-18 (Holder, 11.4 ov), 7-118 (Da Silva, 56.2 ov), 8-149 (Cornwall, 70.3 ov), 9-156 (Warrican, 76.6 ov), 10-160 (Gabriel, 78.6 ov)
Bowling: Lasith Embuldeniya 29-12-46-5 (nb 2), Ramesh Mendis 31-5-64-4, Praveen Jayawickrama 14-6-28-1, Dhananjaya De Silva 1-0-5-0, Dushmantha Chameera 4-0-12-0 (wd 2)
Player of the Match: Dimuth Karunarathne (Sri Lanka)
Toss: Sri Lanka
Test No: 2,434
Test Debut: Jeremy Solozano