By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
On a P Sara Oval pitch that provided spin and bounce West Indies batsmen were done in by Sri Lanka’s three-pronged spin attack that captured eight of the nine wickets to lose the second and final test by 72 runs and with it the inaugural two-match series played for the Sobers-Tissera trophy 2-0.
Left-arm spinners Rangana Herath and Milinda Siriwardana captured seven wickets between them as West Indies chasing 244 for victory collapsed for 171 in their second innings 84 minutes after lunch on the fifth and final day.
Herath who destroyed the West Indies batting at Galle with a haul of ten wickets was very much on the sidelines here picking up only one wicket in the first innings and then going to lunch wicketless in nine overs.
But immediately after the break skipper Angelo Mathews surprisingly replaced Siriwardana who had at that stage taken two of the three wickets to fall in the morning session with Herath and within a matter of 84 minutes the veteran spinner once again delivered for his captain.
In 10.5 overs he took four wickets for 19 runs as West Indies slipped to defeat losing four wickets for 14 runs and only a last wicket stand of 33 between Kemar Roach (13) and Jomel Warrican (20 n.o.) delayed the inevitable and saw them improve marginally on their first innings total of 163 by eight.
The day began promisingly for West Indies when overnight pair Shai Hope and Darren Bravo batted out the first hour without any trouble and looked like laying the foundations for a thrilling run chase later in the day as West Indies moved to 80-1.
But Siriwardana who has a habit of breaking partnerships whenever he is brought to bowl did just that. Hope attempted to take him on and gave the charge but missed the line and was easily stumped by Kusal Perera for 35. Sri Lanka had got the breakthrough they wanted.
The out of form Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood were quickly consumed within five runs of each other as West Indies slipped to 102-4.
With 132 runs required after lunch and six wickets in hand the game was nicely balanced. Bravo was the key for West Indies having completed his second fifty of the series. As long as he was at the wicket West Indies could fancy their chances.
But Herath having got rid of Denesh Ramdin after lunch for 10 ended West Indies hopes by forcing Bravo to edge one to Mathews at slip with his score on 61.
After Siriwardana had taken his third wicket of the innings trapping West Indies captain Jason Holder lbw for seven, Herath had Jerome Taylor caught at long on by Siriwardana and completed the demolishing job by trapping Kemar Roach lbw.
With 15 wickets in the bag in two Tests, Herath easily took the man of the series award. Siriwardana in only his second Test picked up what could be the first of many man of the match awards in his budding career scoring 110 runs and taking five wickets.
West Indies will now regroup with some new faces for the three-match one-day international series that starts at the R Premadasa Stadium on November 1.
SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS 200
WEST INDIES 1ST INNINGS 163
SRI LANKA 2ND INNINGS 206
WEST INDIES 2ND INNINGS
K Brathwaite lbw b Prasad 3
S Hope st K Perera b Siriwardana 35
D Bravo c Mathews b Herath 61
M Samuels c Mathews b D Perera 6
J Blackwood lbw b Siriwardana 4
D Ramdin c Mathews b Herath 10
J Holder lbw b Siriwardana 7
K Roach lbw b Herath 13
J Taylor c Siriwardana b Herath 1
D Bishoo run out 0
J Warrican not out 20
Extras (b-3, lb-1, nb-6, w-1) 11
Total (all out, 65.5 overs) 171
Fall of wickets: 1-20 (Brathwaite), 2-80 (Hope), 3-97 (Samuels), 4-102 (Blackwood), 5-124 (Ramdin), 6-125 (Bravo), 7-133 (Holder), 8-136 (Taylor), 9-138 (Bishoo), 10-171 (Roach).
Bowling: Prasad 10-2-38-1 (w1, nb5), Pradeep 3-0-11-0 (nb1), Herath 19.5-3-56-4, D Perera 20-4-37-1, Siriwardana 13-1-25-3.