West Indies barrelled towards victory on the fifth morning, claiming four wickets, including the vital scalp of Kusal Mendis, who had earlier completed his fifth Test century. Sri Lanka have only three wickets remaining, and have the second new ball to contend with almost immediately after lunch. They will do well to take the match beyond tea. Still 231 runs behind, a Sri Lanka victory is practically out of the question.
Mendis had been secure upon resumption at 94, and had moved smartly to his century that he reached with a flick to the deep square leg fence and celebrated with little fuss. He soon received an unplayable delivery from Shannon Gabriel, however.
Gabriel pitched the just short of a length and had it lift menacingly at Mendis, who could only get a thin outside edge that flew through to the wicketkeeeper to be caught well overhead. With that dismissal, Sri Lanka’s hopes of a victory all but dissipated.
Alongside him, Lahiru Gamage had fought bravely, deadbatting virtually everything that came his way, while leaving judiciously as well. Eventually, after 48 balls, his lack of batting prowess was exposed as Devendra Bishoo sent him a wicket-to-wicket googly. Gamage failed to read him and prodded outside the line. He was plumb, but he also burned a review in his attempts to save himself.
Dinesh Chandimal’s was perhaps the most reprehensible of Sri Lanka’s mistakes in the session. He had resumed his innings on 15, having retired ill the previous day, with early symptoms of sunstroke. He was cautious for the majority of his day-five stay, only venturing a boundary off a Bishoo long hop, but the over before lunch, he lost his temperament, and his wicket. Aiming to slam a Roston Chase length ball over midwicket, he ended up miscuing the stroke badly, and looping a catch to near mid-on, where a running Kraigg Brathwaite completed the catch.
iroshan Dickwella – the final specialist batsman – was out the last ball before lunch. He played for turn, but Chase had bowled a slider, and struck him plumb in front of the stumps. To make things worse, he reviewed out of desperation, which means Sri Lanka have no more left. (Sport News Bay)