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Rangana Stars as Sri Lanka thrash West Indies in first Test

... The Guardian:

Sri Lanka needed less than four days to thrash West Indies by an innings and six runs in the opening Test at Galle on Saturday, with Rangana Herath leading the victory charge by claiming the fifth 10-wicket haul of his career.

The touring side, who have never won a Test match in Sri Lanka, were bundled out for 227 in their second innings in the afternoon session, after being forced to follow on by the hosts.

Herath added three wickets to his previous day’s removal of opener Kraigg Brathwaite for 34, after claiming six victims in the first innings to finish with match figures of 10-147. Three of the 37-year-old’s landmark hauls have come at Galle, the venue for his Test debut against Australia more than 16 years ago.

“When I play here, there is always something for me as a spinner,” Herath said after picking up the man of the match award. “That’s the main reason [for my success].”

The debutant all-rounder Milinda Siriwardana and the paceman Dhammika Prasad picked up two wickets apiece in the second innings for Sri Lanka. Jermaine Blackwood played some delightful shots and showed nimble footwork against the spinners during his knock of 92, his second highest score in Tests, but was the last man out.

After resuming on 67- for two, West Indies lost the nightwatchman, Devendra Bishoo in the left-arm spinner Herath’s third over, before the experienced batsman Marlon Samuels was out lbw off the first ball he faced. Samuels did not offer a shot to a straight delivery and surprisingly, decided to challenge the umpire’s decision, wasting a review in the process. Herath’s hat-trick ball was fended away by Blackwood.

West Indies’ hopes of avoiding a heavy defeat rested on Darren Bravo, who scored a 50 in the first innings, but the left-hander edged Nuwan Pradeep behind for 31, vindicating the decision by Sri Lanka’s captain, Angelo Mathews, to allow the paceman one more over.

“We had a lot of things to learn,” the West Indies captain, Jason Holder, leading the side for the first time in Tests, said. “We did not put enough runs in our first innings total and struggled again in the second innings. We did create chances but we just didn’t take them. If we had held our chances I think the game would have been lot different.”

Blackwood and the wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin stitched together a dogged 48-run stand for the sixth wicket before Siriwardena ended the pair’s resistance when Ramdin edged a catch to Kaushal Silva at second slip.

The second match of the two-Test series starts in Colombo on Thursday.

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