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Action back in whites for Sri Lanka and West Indies, it’s the Sobers-Tissera trophy that both sides are competing for. Two test matches on schedule and both to be played at Galle. The opening test at Galle saw, Sri Lanka dominate before West Indies made a good comeback with the ball but disappoint with bat in both innings as Sri Lanka bag a comprehensive win.


SRI LANKA’S XI : Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Praveen Jayawickrama.

WEST INDIES XI : Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Jermaine Blackwood, Jeremy Solozano, Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Rahkeem Cornwall, Jomel Warrican, Shannon Gabriel.

DAY 1,

Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne made their way out to the middle, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder got proceedings underway with the ball for Windies. Edged, wide of third slip and Sri Lanka were away. Easy pickings for Lankan batters early on with Gabriel offering room. Spin was introduced early, 6th over of play saw Cornwall into the attack and with Holder bowling from the other end Windies got hold on the flow of runs. Cornwall in his 4th over created an opportunity that went begging as Blackwood at first slip dropped Karunaratne on 14. Minutes before lunch, the 50 run opening stand was on board. Debutant, Solozano was stretchered off field and was taken to the hospital for scans after being struck on the helmet while fielding. Runs flowed for Lankan batters, ran the two’s hard and had boundaries in regular intervals that saw Dimuth Karunaratne get to his fine 50 and with a boundary got the opening wicket partnership a century tag. Took a while, but Nissanka too got to his fine 50. In the 50th over with 139 on board Sri Lanka lost their first and it was Shannon Gabriel with the breakthrough. Final session of play saw a couple early wicket for Windies as Roston Chase first striked Fernando on 3(27) and then Mathews on 3(25). Dhananjaya was next in and was off the mark with a boundary, Karunaratne on the other end got to his brilliant 100. Windies took the new ball immediately when available, Dhananjaya welcomed it with a boundary, he kept dealing in boundaries and got to his attacking 50 that’d come off just 62 deliveries. With bad light the play was forced to stop a couple over early, 267-3 was Sri Lanka’s score on the opening day with Karunaratne unbeaten on 132 off 265. Toil hard day for bowlers, Shannon Gabriel with a wicket to his name but was poor in execution, Holder again was brilliant with tight lines, Warrican and Cornwall were tight but also offered boundary balls that Lankan batters capitalised on. Chase the standout with 2 to his name. Part timers, Kraigg, Blackwood and Mayers too had a bowl but the wicket didn’t come Windies way.

Dimuth Karunaratne’s 132* put Sri Lanka in the driving seat.

Debutant, Jeremy Solozano who was stretchered off field and was taken to the hospital for scans after being struck on the helmet while fielding showed no structural damage and was overnight under observation at the hospital. He’d suffered concussion, returned to the team hotel and did undergo the appropriate protocol.

Shai Hope was named as his replacement for this ongoing test match.

DAY 2,

The pair of Karunaratne and Dhananjaya on an unbeaten partnership of 97 made their way to the middle, Holder and Cornwall got their arm rolling, was a controlled start by both sides. The partnership saw a century stand before Shannon Gabriel was into the attack and Dhananjaya on 61 smashed the bails in process to stop the ball from brushing the stumps and was out hit wicket on 61 off 95, a fine knock that saw an unlikely end. Wasn’t too late before Windies bagged a big wicket as Roston Chase striked set Karunaratne on 147, an outstanding knock by the skipper, led from the front. Dinesh Chandimal and Ramesh Mendis stitched a fine 35 run stand before Warrican striked Ramesh on 13(49). Lakmal departed on 11 and Chase dismissed Chandimal on 45, another fine knock and more importantly a crucial one. Embuldeniya’s quick fire of 17(18) saw curtains as Roston Chase had his 5th scalp. With a strong 386 on board Sri Lanka were all-out. For Windies, Shannon Gabriel with 2, Warrican with 3 and Roston Chase with 5-wicket haul were the successful bowlers.

West Indies in reply saw openers, Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood have a defensive start before Kraigg and Jermaine got a few away to the boundary and the Windies were looking good. The good looking opening wicket partnership saw a 46 run stand that came to a close with Blackwood being trapped lbw on 20(44). Bonner failed to perform with just a run to his name. It was real tight stuff from the Lankan bowlers and there was hardly something for Windies to bank on. Ramesh Mendis was introduced into the attack, did concede a couple boundaries but off the last ball striked the prize wicket of set Kraigg Brathwaite on 41(115) and first ball off his next over striked again and this time it was Shai Hope on 10(31), hat-trick denied. Warrican and Chase were the new batters in the middle but couldn’t do anything in Windies favour as on scores on 1 and 2 respectively made their way back, Windies were 6 down with 100 on board. Mayers with a couple boundaries drew curtains on days play, remains unbeaten on 22(20) with Holder on the other end unbeaten on 1(2). Sri Lanka were brilliant with the ball after striking one never let Windies pull momentum and kept striking in regular intervals. Lasith Embuldeniya striked the first before Jayawickrama and Mendis shared 5 between them, 2 and 3 respectively. An eventful day of play and a one that’s pleased Sri Lanka.

Ramesh Mendis introduction into the attack saw him bag a wicket and a wicket got few more as Windies lose 3 more in the next 8 overs.

DAY 3,

Windies duo of Mayers and Holder were in the middle with aggresive intent, Embuldeniya and Ramesh Mendis for Sri Lanka with ball were in upfront but were taken on by the Windies duo as the scorecard kept accelerating. Dhananjaya was introduced into the attack and in his 3rd over striked the big wicket of Mayers on 45 who was batting with a strike rate of 72.58 and the 63 run partnership came to a close. Jayawickrama was soon introduced into the attack and Sri Lanka had their second in quick succession as Holder departed for 30. Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva were the new batters in the middle, Cornwall opted the aggresive way while Joshua on the other end was playing for survival, a very very defensive approach. Cornwall continued to deal in boundaries and didn’t allow the Lankan spinners to settle in. Skipper, Karunaratne was forced to get a pacer in and with Lakmal into the attack Sri Lanka had the wicket of Cornwall on 39, an entertaining 39(58) saw curtains. The new ball was available but the rain played a spoilsport as the officials called the day off with Windies 224-9, trail by 162. Joshua unbeaten on 11(70). Sri Lanka with ball in hand couldn’t quite have a good start and it was the regular bowling changes that worked right in Sri Lanka’s favour.

DAY 4,

Sri Lanka bagged the final Windies wicket with Gabriel trapped lbw on 2(11), Joshua Da Silva remained unbeaten on 15 off 95 as West Indies were bowled out for 230. Sri Lanka with a very healthy lead of 156 made their way out. Cornwall and Holder got proceedings underway with Nissakan falling to Cornwall on 3. A mini partnership but an intentful one, Fernando departed for 14. The duo of Karunaratne and Mathews kept the scorecard ticking at quite some pace as the need was to accelerate and were up for it, fifty for Karunaratne and then an aggressive fifty for Angelo Mathews. Cornwall with the breakthrough got the 123 run partnership between the duo to a close with Karunaratne departing for a fine 83(104), top batting display that. Dhananjaya departed early on 1, Chandimal with 10 to his name and Mathews with a 6 over deep square leg got Sri Lanka’s 41 overs of intentful batting to a close, with 191 on board in the 2nd innings and a lead of 156 Sri Lanka posted a massive 348 on board for Windies to chase down for a win. A special knock of 69 off just 84 from Angelo Mathews comforted Sri Lanka to timely declaration.

West Indies in reply lost captain, Kraigg for a 14 ball duck. It only got worse for West Indies as Kraigg’s 14 ball duck was followed by string of low scores as Blackwood on 9(18), Shai Hope on 3(9) and Roston Chase on 1(7) departed before Mendis picked up Mayers and Holder on consecutive balls but was again denied a hat-trick in the same test; 12 overs of play saw Sri Lanka restrict West Indies to 18-6 with 4 wickets to Mendis and a couple to Embuldeniya. The panic button was put aside as West Indies finally managed to hang in and put in a very good partnership with Bonner and Joshua Da Silva batting in 10’s. Bad light stopped play with partnership on 34 off 83 and that soon was stumps for the day.

Ramesh Mendis in his 1st spell bowled 10 overs for just 16 runs and bagged 4 wickets.

DAY 5,

The Windies duo of Bonner and Joshua Da Silva put in a briliant start by denying Sri Lanka an early wicket they would have wished. Embuldeniya and Ramesh Mendis were the bowlers to get the final days play underway, Bonner and Joshua put in a cautious start, by running the ones and twos. After spending enough time in the middle shots started to flow, Bonner got a couple away to the fence and Joshua too got a few away and 100 was on board for Windies after being 6 down for 18. Joshua got to his well deserving half century but was next to depart as Embuldeniya striked and the 100 run partnership came to a close with Joshua’s brilliant 54(129). Second session saw Bonner get to his fluent 50 but was falling short of partners on the other end as Cornwall’s stays came to an end on 13. Embuldeniya got the final 2, dismissed Warrican on 1 and Gabriel on a 6 ball duck. West Indies were all-out for 160 as a result Sri Lanka won the opening test by 187 runs. The wickets took a while but did come Sri Lanka’s way, after being 6 down for 18 it never was Windies game either to draw or win but the grit Bonner and Joshua showed was excellent and forced the match to 2nd session of play on day 5. Bonner remained unbeaten on 68 220 balls. For Sri Lanka, Lasith Embuldeniya with 4, Ramesh Mendis with 5 and Jayawickrama with 1 were the successful bowlers on show.

Sri Lanka won the opening Galle test by 187 runs.

A fantastic test match for Sri Lanka, a disappointing one for West Indies as batting collapses continue to make headlines. With a test more that’ll be played at the same venue, Sri Lanka will fancy a whitewash and West Indies top and middle order will want to repeat what Bonner and Joshua displayed, a gritty team performance to sign off.

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