Mendis, Embuldeniya spin out West Indies for 2-0 series win
SUMMARY: Sri Lanka 204 (Nissanka 73, Permaul 5-35, Warrican 4-50) and 345-9 declared (Dhananjaya 155*, Permaul 3-106) beat West Indies 253 (Brathwaite 72, Mendis 6-70) and 132 (Bonner 44, Embuldeniya 5-35, Mendis 5-66) by 164 runs
Ramesh Mendis struck early in the day to remove Kraigg Brathwaite, claimed three wickets in a single over during the middle session, then completed his second five-wicket haul of the match, while Lasith Embuldeniya also took five at the other end.
Between the two finger-spinners, they dismissed West Indies for 132 inside 56 overs. Sri Lanka’s winning margin was 164. Having now whitewashed this opposition, they take 100% of the World Test Championship points on offer for this series.
West Indies had needed to bat out 93 overs after Sri Lanka declared their innings 2.4 overs into the day. Although during times in the morning session it seemed as if they were going to make the hosts toil, West Indies fell away rapidly after lunch, losing their last eight wickets for 40 runs, in the space of 13 overs.
An awful shot from Shai Hope had sparked that collapse. Spotting a long-hop from Mendis, Hope went back to pull it, but hit it directly to the square leg fielder, who took it at belly height. Hope could have put that ball away anywhere on the legside.
Next delivery, Mendis had Roston Chase caught at short leg – Oshada Fernando reacting lightning quick to hold a low chance as Chase attempted to clip the ball to leg.
Mendis missed out on a hat-trick for the third time in the series when he spun one past the bat of Kyle Mayers, but Mayers would last only three more deliveries anyway, sending a catch to Dhananjaya de Silva at slip.
The remaining wickets almost seemed like a formality. Embuldeniya imposed himself on West Indies’ lower order, first having Jason Holder caught at slip, much in the same way he’d had the more stubborn Jermaine Blackwood out, just before lunch. Nkrumah Bonner was then out chopping back on to the stumps.
Kemar Roach struck three boundaries, but he was out lbw to Embuldeniya, before Verassammy Permaul fell in a similar fashion, and Jomel Warrican lasted just three balls before giving another catch to de Silva at slip. This was the dismissal that sealed the game.
Earlier, Blackwood and Bonner had resisted for 23 overs together, surviving several close calls and one dropped catch, but Sri Lanka’s spinners were relentless on a surface that substantially favoured them, even if it wasn’t quite unplayable.
Blackwood batted out 92 balls, and Bonner, who was around well into the second session, played out 143, and can easily claim to be West Indies’ most dogged batter of the series, even if there wasn’t a lot of competition for that title.
Mendis’ five wickets in the second dig meant he took 11-136 for the game – easily his best figures, in a four-match career so far. He took 18 wickets for the series, and now has 26 Test victims all up, at an average of 21.53.
To begin the day, Sri Lanka’s 10th-wicket pair had struck 17 runs in 2.4 overs until Embuldeniya – the primary aggressor on day five – was bowled by Holder. Dhananjaya de Silva had added two to his overnight score, to finish on 155 not out. (ESPNcricinfo)