COLOMBO –– Not many teams in international cricket will dismiss a Test side for 200 runs twice in a match and still lose the game in basically four days.
West Indies easily achieved this dubious distinction today when they conceded a 72-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the second Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
After rain had washed out day four, the Windies began the final day on 20 for 1, chasing an overall 244 to win and square the two-Test series. That, and the presence of icon Sir Garfield Sobers, did not provide sufficient motivation for the team and once more their batting proved an embarrassment.
Darren Bravo made 61 but needed to go further. Shai Hope battled for 35 before his excursion down the wicket resulted in him being stumped and Marlon Samuels’ imitation of a Test batsman ended in another failure. He might have played his last Test match in a career marked more by style than substance.
The spin trio of Rangana Herath (4-56), Milinda Siriwardana (3-25) and Dilruwan Perera (1-37) hastened Windies’ collapse to 171 all out, mercifully putting them out of their misery with the fall of last man Kemar Roach.
West Indies’ innings followed a similar pattern as Sri Lanka’s with one batsman making a fifty -Bravo in this case –– and the others deflating like cheap party balloons.
Siriwardana struck in his first over for the third innings in a row, having Hope stumped. He followed that with the wicket of Jermaine Blackwood 20 minutes before the lunch. In between, offspinner Dilruwan Perera also chipped in to prolong Samuels’ lean patch against Sri Lanka.
Samuels was dismissed for his ninth single-digit score against the hosts in 17 innings, when he feebly poked and nicked to slip where Angelo Mathews completed a sharp, low catch. The dismissal was reviewed and Samuels was given out by third umpire Marias Erasmus, who decided Mathews had caught it cleanly even as the ball bounced out of his right hand and into his left.
Herath then engineered a double-strike in his fourth over after lunch to remove Denesh Ramdin and Bravo. Jomel Warrican, one of the few positives in an otherwise dark series for West Indies, summoned some late blows in a last-wicket partnership of 33 to only delay Sri Lanka’s victory.
West Indies had begun the day brightly amid overcast conditions, before letting the advantage slip away. Hope was sure-footed and ticked along smoothly. He serenely drove Dhammika Prasad past mid-on, and greeted Herath with a pulled four.
Bravo looked fidgety early on, playing and missing outside off to add to a few pokey drives. Soon, a Prasad half-volley provided a release and Bravo found his mojo as he drove it through the covers. He then stepped out and hit Perera on to the sightscreen before a repeat of the big hit brought up only the third fifty stand of the match.
West Indies had squeezed out 14 partnerships of more than 20 in this series but none of them had passed 50, until the last day of the second Test. Hope and Bravo addressed the issue, adding 60 together, but it was not enough to help West Indies secure their first Test win in Sri Lanka.
Holder later placed the blame for their depressing Sri Lankan sojourn squarely at the feet of his batsmen.
”It’s clear that the batting let us down. I think we need to work on our temperament. At times we need to be a lot more patient and know which phases of the game to hang in and in which phases of the game we can attack. Sometimes we may look a little rash and sometimes we may look a little defensive. We just need to curb aggression with some defence,” Holder said.
Holder did not believe technical flaws against spin were prevalent in his side, however. Of the 40 West Indies wickets that fell in the series, 27 went to Sri Lanka’s spinners, with Rangana Herath claiming 15 scalps.
“I wouldn’t say we have a difficulty playing spin,” Holder said. “The nature of our wickets at home is not too far apart from here in Sri Lanka. It’s just a case of not being patient enough and trusting our defence.
“If you look at the top orders, Sri Lanka’s top order batted well and our top order didn’t. We were always struggling for an opening partnership and never really got it. And in our middle partnerships we struggled again, whereas Sri Lanka got some runs in the middle. Going forward we need to look at our top order and hopefully they can put the onus upon themselves to score the bulk of the runs for the team.
Sri Lanka 1st Innings 200 All Out
West Indies 1st Innings 163 All Out
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings 206 All Out
West Indies 2nd Innings (Target; 244)
K Brathwaite LBW Prasad 3
S Hope st MDKJ Perera b Siriwardana 35
D Bravo c Mathews b Herath 61
M Samuels c Mathews b MDK Perera 6
J Blackwood LBW Siriwardana 4
D Ramdin+ c Mathews b Herath 10
J Holder* LBW Siriwardana 7
K Roach LBW Herath 13
J Taylor c Siriwardana b Herath 1
D Bishoo run out (Mathews/†MDKJ Perera) 0
J Warrican not out 20
Total: 171 All Out (65.5 Overs)
Extras: (b 3, lb 1, w 1, nb 6) 11
Fall of Wickets: 1-20 (Brathwaite, 8.6 ov), 2-80 (Hope, 25.5 ov), 3-97 (Samuels, 34.4 ov), 4-102 (Blackwood, 37.2 ov), 5-124 (Ramdin, 51.1 ov), 6-125 (Bravo, 51.5 ov), 7-133 (Holder, 56.1 ov), 8-136 (Taylor, 57.5 ov), 9-138 (Bishoo, 58.4 ov), 10-171 (Roach, 65.5 ov).
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings Bowling: D Prasad 10-2-38-1, N Pradeep 3-0-11-0, R Herath 19.5-3-56-4, D Perera 20-4-37-1, M Siriwardana 13-1-25-3.
Toss: Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat
Test Debuts: Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka), Jomel Warrican (West Indies)
Series: Sri Lanka 2-0 West Indies
Player of the Match: Milinda Siriwardana (Sri Lanka)
Player of the Series: Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)
Umpires: Simon Fry (Australia) & Rod Tucker (Australia)