Sri Lanka had come into the series against West Indies in a state of flux, after having lost two home Test series in a year for only the second time. Kumar Sangakkara had retired after the second Test against India, and coach Marvan Atapattu had resigned. However, they rallied to sweep West Indies 2-0, after a 72-run win before tea on the final day of the second Test at the P Sara Oval, despite four sessions getting washed out.
Milinda Siriwardana, whose 68 in the first innings turned out to the top score in the match, picked up three wickets in the final innings to trigger the slide. Sri Lanka’s lead spinner Rangana Herath claimed four wickets to skittle the visitors, who began the day at 20 for 1, for 171.
West Indies’ innings followed a similar pattern with one batsman making a fifty – Darren Bravo in this case – and the others deflating like cheap party balloons.
Siriwardana struck in his first over for the third innings in a row, having Shai Hope stumped for 35. He followed that with the wicket of Jermaine Blackwood 20 minutes before the lunch. In between, offspinner Dilruwan Perera also chipped in to prolong Marlon Samuels’ lean patch against Sri Lanka.
Samuels was dismissed for his ninth single-digit score against the hosts in 17 innings, when he feebly poked and nicked to slip where Angelo Mathews completed a sharp, low catch. The dismissal was reviewed and Samuels was given out by third umpire Marias Erasmus, who decided Mathews had caught it cleanly even as the ball bounced out of his right hand and into his left.
Herath then engineered a double-strike in his fourth over after lunch to remove Denesh Ramdin and Bravo. Jomel Warrican, one of the few positives in an otherwise dark series for West Indies, summoned some late blows in a last-wicket partnership of 33 to only delay Sri Lanka’s victory.
West Indies had begun the day brightly amid overcast conditions, before letting the advantage slip away. Hope was sure-footed and ticked along smoothly. He serenely drove Dhammika Prasad past mid-on, and greeted Herath with a pulled four. Bravo looked fidgety early on, playing and missing outside off to add to a few pokey drives. Soon, a Prasad half-volley provided a release and Bravo found his mojo as he drove it through the covers. He then stepped out and hit Perera on to the sightscreen before a repeat of the big hit brought up only the third fifty stand of the match.
West Indies had squeezed out 14 partnerships of more than 20 in this series but none of them had passed 50, until the last day of the second Test. Hope and Bravo addressed the issue, adding 60 together, but it was not enough to help West Indies secure their first Test win in Sri Lanka.
(Taken from ESPN Sports Media Ltd.)