Lanka beat West Indies and weather to win Galle Test

Friday, 26 November 2021 03:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Sri Lankan team celebrates their win over West Indies in the first Test at Galle


By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Sri Lanka rode their luck with the fickle Galle weather to beat West Indies by 187 runs in the first Sobers-Tissera Trophy Test match and take an early 1-0 lead in the two-match series at the Galle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

The win not only brought 12 points for Sri Lanka in the ICC World Test Championship but placed them on top of the table with a 100 percentage.

The West Indies who began the fifth and final day hopelessly placed at 52-6 chasing an imposing target of 348 put up firm resistance to take the Test into the second session before being finally dismissed in their second innings for 160.

The result of the match after the disastrous collapse of the West Indies batting on the fourth day was never in doubt. Sri Lanka’s biggest challenge was the weather that had looked threatening from the start of the day and came down in buckets as soon as the final wicket fell.

As in the first innings the West Indies resistance came from their lower order with wicket-keeper batsman Joshua Da Silva once again in the thick of things. In the first innings he stuck it out for 94 balls to make 15 not out, and yesterday he gave another determined display of batting scoring 54 off 129 balls (5 fours) and making Sri Lanka fight hard to earn the victory.

Da Silva proved an ideal foil to Nkrumah Bonner whose unbeaten knock of 68 off 220 balls (7 fours) nearly saved West Indies from defeat. Coming at the fall of the first wicket at 3 in the fourth over, Bonner put up stubborn resistance from one end with a simple technique to combat the dominant Lankan spinners.

The pair nearly batted the entire morning session frustrating the Lankan spinners who did not find the unplayable turn and bounce of the previous day due to the ball becoming wet from the outfield. Sri Lanka had their chances to break the partnership before it reached 100. They missed running out Da Silva who was also dropped at 23. Bonner was let off at 36 and 54. 

The batsmen also rode their luck on lbw appeals which went in their favour. These lapses only increased the anxiety in the Lankan camp as they had to contend with not only taking the last four West Indian wickets but also the impending bad light and rain.

Sri Lanka’s only success of the morning was the wicket of Da Silva whose concentration was apparently broken when Bonner called for medical attention on the field for cramps. Soon after resumption Da Silva edged a catch to slip off Lasith Embuldeniya.

In the afternoon after Praveen Jayawickrama had removed Rahkeem Cornwall for 13 for his first wicket of the innings, Embuldeniya who bowled a beautiful line and length finished off the innings with the wickets of Jomel Warrican and Shannon Gabriel for his fourth five-for in his flowering Test career. Mendis failed to add to his four wickets ending with figures of 4/64 which was a career best for him.  

The three-pronged Lankan spin attack captured 19 of the 20 wickets to fall in the Test. West Indies although beaten fairly and squarely had to be given a lot of credit for the manner in which they defied the Lankan spinners, especially their lower order that scored 130 off 275 balls to lift the total from 100-6 to 230 in the first innings, and 142 off 404 balls to give their second innings some respect from 18-6 to 160. 

With Galle continuing to be the venue for the second Test starting on Monday as well, a much-improved batting performance could be expected from the West Indies who would have learnt a thing or two of how to tackle spin on this surface.

Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne who led the team from the front with scores of 147 and 83 took the Player of the Match award.


West Indians Nkrumah Bonner (right) and Joshua Da Silva frustrated Sri Lanka with a century stand



Sri Lanka spinner Lasith Embuldeniya celebrates with his captain Dimuth Karunaratne after taking his fifth wicket of the innings