Sri Lankan spin bowler Rangana Herath pushed the West Indies to the brink of an embarrassing innings defeat on Saturday, taking two quick wickets to leave the tourists fumbling in the first Test in Galle.
After taking six for 68 in the West Indies’ first innings in a dazzling display that helped force a follow-on, Herath continued to pile the pressure on the visitors, who were languishing at 156 for six at lunch on the fourth day and still 77 runs short of an innings defeat.
After resuming play in the morning at 67 for two, the West Indies struggled to build momentum with nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo caught by captain Angelo Mathews off the bowling of Herath with the score at just 74.
The very next ball, Herath trapped Marlon Samuels leg before wicket.
Though the spinner missed out on a hat trick, Sri Lanka kept the West Indies in trouble with Darren Bravo (31) falling to a peach of a swinger by Nuwan Pradeep that edged back to wicketkeeper Kusal Janith Perera.
Denesh Ramdin was next to fall, caught at slip off the bowling of Milinda Siriwardana.
Jermaine Blackwood seemed to delay the inevitable by remaining at 49 not out at the break. Captain Jason Holder was with him on eight.
Herath’s figures of three for 34 left him one wicket short of a 10-wicket match haul, and 13 short overall of becoming only the third Sri Lankan to snag 300 Test wickets.