Sri lankan Spinners put srilanka close to victory against Windies


GALLE: Sri Lanka only needs four wickets to win the first Test against the West Indies in Galle after setting the almost impossible goal of 348 on Wednesday's penultimate matchday. West Indies had just made 52 before bad light forced an early finish after the hosts spin trio did quick work on the top ranking.

Due to the sensational collapse, the tourists lost four wickets in 15 balls for only four runs. Ramesh Mendis was the bowlers' choice that ended with four for 17. The off-crank had what it takes to catch Kyle Mayer's leg earlier. Jason Holder expected the ball to hit him on the next delivery, but a straight path shattered his stump.

Joshua da Silva came in to face the hat-trick ball, but it was stubborn of Mendis rolling down the side of the leg. Lasith Embuldeniya accounted for Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase.

There was little hope for the West Indies at 18 for six and all indications were that the game would end on day four.Then Nkrumah Bonner (18) and da Silva (15) struck a little over 45 minutes to hold out before the referees shouted bad light. The West Indies collapse began when Mendis West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite captured lbw without scoring in the fourth round. Angelo Mathews caught a brilliant catch in the middle to dismiss Blackwood (9) from left spinner Embuldeniya.

"Everyone in the locker room is disappointed," Bonner told reporters. “But then it's up to me and Josh to do the job. We have about 640 balls to hit. We want to play every ball according to performance and respect the bowlers ... It's a simple plan: hit as much as possible tomorrow. "

The lowest sum of the West Indies versus Sri Lanka is 93 in Barbados in 2018. Sri Lanka declared their second inning to 191 for four after a 123-run stand from Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne in just 150 deliveries. Skipper Karunaratne, who posted 147 in the first innings, missed nearly two centuries at 83, including nine fours.

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He eventually stumbled after attempting to cut Rahkeem Cornwall, a top edge that knocked the ball from the wicketkeeper's gloves into the hands of the first slip. Karunaratne was productive this year with over 850 runs averaging 77. He is the third highest run-getter in the world in test cricket for 2021, behind the Englishman Joe Root and the Indian Rohit Sharma.

"I have little doubt that when he finishes he will be among the top three goalscorers for Sri Lanka," said Mathews, who missed two sixes and six limits for 69, of his teammate after the game. The West Indies were 230 total in the first innings, with nine wickets falling to Sri Lanka's spinners. Left poor Praveen Jayawickrama was the bowler's choice with four scalps on his name.

The fourth matchday was delayed by an hour due to rain. On the third day a total of 52 overs were lost due to rain.