Experienced campaigner Rangana Herath took his 23rd five-wicket haul to force West Indies to follow-on on the third day of the first Test played at the Galle International Stadium on Friday.
Herath’s six wickets for 68 saw West Indies dismissed for 251 runs in their first innings in reply to Sri Lanka’s score of 484. Following on West Indies were 67 for two wickets, still trailing by 166 runs with two days of the Test remaining.
The two wickets West Indies lost in their second innings were that of openers Shai Hope (6) and Kraigg Brathwaite (34) both falling to left-arm spinners.
Debutant Milinda Siriwardana picked up his first Test wicket when he bowled Hope who dragged a ball from outside off onto his stumps.
Herath then got into the act to take his seventh wicket of the match by trapping Brathwaite lbw to leave West Indies struggling at 60-2 to save the first Test.
Darren Bravo who scored a fighting half-century in the first innings was unbeaten on 20 with nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo on six.
West Indies was one of the Test playing nations against whom Herath had not performed well in comparison to the other nations, and yesterday he put that record straight with a classical exhibition of left-arm spin bowling that left them bemused. He has now taken five wickets in an innings against every Test playing nation with the exception of Zimbabwe with whom he has yet to play a Test.
Herath accounted for four of the top five wickets to have West Indies struggling at 132-5, and after going wicketless in the afternoon session when the West Indies batting showed some resoluteness to score 107 runs, he returned to clean up the tail by sending back Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel off successive balls.
Herath’s super effort overshadowed that of Dhammika Prasad who once again bowled his heart out to capture two wickets for 38 runs off 15 overs. Nuwan Pradeep and Tharindu Kaushal chipped in with a wicket apiece.
Kaushal in particular was unimpressive his only over of the morning session costing him 16 runs that included four no-balls. This was his first Test after he was reported and tested for his bowling action especially his doosra which for the time has been banned from use.
Kaushal’s solitary wicket was that of Kemar Roach whose run-a-ball 31 runs he ended by having him caught at slip by Mathews but overall he bowled far too short and armed with only his off-spin he tried to experiment with different deliveries and paid the penalty for erring in length.
None of the West Indies batsmen managed to stay long enough to play a substantial innings – Darren Bravo’s 50 off 107 balls being the only innings of significance.
The West Indies total could have been even worse had it not been for some stern resistance put up by the late order that added 86 runs for the last four wickets.