Nov 25 (SLC) Sri Lanka romped to a 187-run win over the West Indies to go 1-up in the 2-match test series on the fifth and final day at the Galle International Stadium.
It was all over by 142 when the West Indies rearguard resistance that delayed an expectant early finish ended when Lasith Embuldeniya had Shannon Gabriel caught in the slips for a duck edging a short delivery on the off to Dhananjaya de Silva to give the left-arm spinner returns of 5 for 46. With it, the pompous celebrations from the Lankan camp reigned in with the hugging and kissing to the accompaniment of band music heralding the joyous moment with Head Coach Mick Arthur in his last mission with Sri Lanka in the thick of it all.
A high point of the triumph was the Lankans trio of Embuldeniya, Ramesh Mendis and Praveen Jayawickrama ushering a type of new aura in the spin bowling department. If the final rites on the West Indian second innings was executed by Embuldeniya in a return to top groove following a long injury recuperation, the day as much belonged to Ramesh Mendis who bamboozled the West Indian top order that started with the dismissal of skipper Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope in dismantling the top order and following up with the wickets of Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder for figures of 4 for 64 in the wake of his 3 for 75 in the first innings. It signaled the arrival of the 26-year old right-arm spinner to signal his arrival as a young prodigy for the future to go with his all-round batting flair.
The 25-year old left-armer Embuldeniys, who took the second West Indian wicket to fall that of Jermaine Blackwood also had in his web Roston Chase whose defiant 54-run seventh wicket in a stalling 100-run partnership with overnight partner Nkrumah Bonner, who carried his bat for a top score of 68 in that lost cause revived the innings from 6 for 18 when the pair came together yesterday. His other victims included Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican on the way to that last hurrah of the wicket of Gabriel for a duck in putting the icing on the cake.
It was a champagne round off for Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne in the decoration of Player of the Match award on his batting heroics of 147 and 83.