Lasith Embuldeniya took five wickets in the final innings as host Sri Lanka beat the West Indies by 187 runs in the first Test in Galle on Thursday to go 1-0 up in the two-match series.
Chasing a hefty target of 348, West Indies was bowled out for 160 before tea on the final day, with Nkrumah Bonner the lone warrior with an unbeaten 68 on a turning wicket at the Galle International Stadium.
Bonner was one of only three West Indies batters to make it into double figures along with Joshua Da Silva, who made 54, and Rahkeem Cornwall who managed 13.
Sri Lanka secured a 156-run first-innings lead thanks to a masterful 147 by Dimuth Karunaratne and four wickets by Praveen Jayawickrama helping to scuttle the visitors for 230.
With rain washing out some play and storm clouds threatening, Karunaratne starred again in Sri Lanka’s second innings with 83, aided by Angelo Mathews who made 69, to set the West Indies a mountainous task to win.
On day four the hosts’ spin trio made quick work of the West Indies top order with a collapse seeing the tourists lose four wickets in 15 balls for just four runs.
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Reeling on 52 for six at the start of the final day, the West Indies clung on with Bonner and Da Silva putting on 100, the West Indies’ highest partnership of the match.
Despite the wicket offering plenty of assistance, the two batters tackled the Sri Lankan spin threat well with clever use of footwork.
Three chances were also put down by Sri Lanka with Pathum Nissanka the guilty party each time.
It was a crucial seventh-wicket partnership for the tourists after they had been reduced to 18 for six on day four.
At that point, the West Indies was in danger of being shot out for its lowest score in Test cricket with the game ending inside four days.
Its lowest total was 47 all out against England in Jamaica in 2004.
Sri Lanka did dismiss Da Silva 15 minutes before lunch when he was caught at slip by Dhananjaya de Silva to give Embuldeniya his third wicket in the innings. Da Silva’s 54 came off 129 balls and contained five fours.
Bonner on 41 was given out leg before wicket to Ramesh Mendis, but the batsman successfully reviewed the decision.
But the West Indies, chasing its first-ever Test win in Sri Lanka, collapsed after lunch.
Embuldeniya finished with a five-wicket haul while Mendis complemented him well with four scalps.