Since 1993, the West Indies have met Sri Lanka eleven times where they drew just four times and three of those came in a rain-affected Test series where Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara shone with the bat. At the start of the new century, the duel between Brian Lara and Muttiah Muralitharan generated hype where both of them had been at their pristine best, but Lara dominating Murali is still a part of West Indian cricket folklore. Otherwise, it has been all about Sri Lanka in their backyard.
That's a wrap! ?️
Sri Lanka win the 1st Test by 187 runs and take 1-0 lead in the 2-match series! ?#SLvWI pic.twitter.com/YIPDg1H5Pf
— Sri Lanka Cricket ?? (@OfficialSLC) November 25, 2021
The West Indies Test side, in recent times, has shown a bit of promise due to their intent – sadly at Galle, they surrendered meekly. No fight. No patience. Pretty lacklustre.
On the first day, the Lankan skipper – Dimuth Karunartne, who has not played the longer-format for almost six months, found the going tough in the first session but dug deep to stabilize his foot on the ground and grew stronger each session to script a brilliant hundred.
Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva also made contrasting fifties, to help their captain bookend the day with big stands.
West Indies will rue a number of close and missed chances, none greater than the dropped catch off Karunaratne when he was on 14.
With Roston Chase removing Oshada Fernando and Angelo Mathews, both for 3, after tea – their best bowler, however, was Jason Holder, who delivered eight maiden overs in his total of 14, and troubled Mathews so consistently that it prompted the batter to take a fatal risk against Chase.
Dimuth Karunaratne has been absolutely unstoppable in Tests in 2021 ?#WTC23 | #SLvWI pic.twitter.com/xE3IiXNOXg
— ICC (@ICC) November 22, 2021
Shannon Gabriel, preferred over the effective Kemar Roach leaked runs and released the pressure.
Solozano was taken off the field on a stretcher on Sunday and transferred to a hospital from the Galle Stadium in an ambulance for scans, after being hit on the helmet while fielding at short leg. The incident happened just before the lunch break.
Solozano was taken to a hospital in Colombo, which is more than an hour away by road.
This is scary! Jeremy Solozano has been struck in the front of the helmet by a vicious pull shot against the spin bowling of Chase. He is being placed on a stretcher out of an abundance of caution. We hope he's OK. #SLvWI pic.twitter.com/1dtUPNC1td
— ?FlashScore Cricket Commentators (@FlashCric) November 21, 2021
He was hit on the front of the helmet near the forehead on the fourth ball of the 24th over when Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne pulled a short ball from Roston Chase. The batter had middled the ball and Solozano had barely any time to react or take evasive action.
Shai Hope replaced debutant Jeremy Solozano as his concussion substitute in the West Indies XI
On Day 2, The Lankans lost their overnight pair in the first hour, and lost the remainder of their batters either side of lunch, but still, it was the last session of the day that was most dramatic. West Indies had restricted Sri Lanka to 386.
Dimuth Karunaratne's last six Test knocks:
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) November 24, 2021
Roston Chase bagged five wickets but the reply of the West Indian batters was poor.
They lost 6 wickets quickly and on Day 3 – for the first hour or so in the morning, West Indies had looked rather threatening. Both Mayers and Holder showed they were unafraid to use the depth of the crease against the spinners, while Holder, in particular, used his extra reach to consistently get to the pitch of the ball and smother the considerable spin on offer – two delicious drives through cover for boundaries were the pick of his shots. Mayer, meanwhile, was content to rock back whenever possible, thrice flaying deliveries short and wide past point for four.
In between, the pair rotated the strike with ease, as Sri Lanka’s spinners gradually lost their early confidence in flighting the ball and resorted to flatter trajectories. The breakthrough eventually came courtesy of some outstanding catching – first from Karunaratne and then Dushmantha Chameera.
Rain washed out the final session and pretty much the entirety of the second session – only four overs were completed after lunch before the groundstaff was called into action – as West Indies ended the third day on 224 for 9, still 162 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total.
Sri Lanka win the first Test in World Test Championship 2021-23 and go to the top of the table with 12 points. Incredible effort by the inexperienced Sri Lanka spinners. Played, Sri Lanka.?? #Cricket #SLvWI
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) November 25, 2021
On Day 4 – it took just over 15 minutes for Sri Lanka to claim the final West Indies wicket and secure a healthy first-innings lead. Following a rain-delayed start, Sri Lanka picked up the second new ball first thing and went on the offensive against Da Silva and Gabriel with the spin duo of Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama.
Sri Lanka declared at 191 for 4 and West Indies needed 348 runs to win on a rain-affected Day 4.
Eleven wickets – seven of them belonging to the visitors – fell on the fourth day of the Galle Test between Sri Lanka and the West Indies as the hosts inched closer towards victory. Sri Lanka’s spinners Ramesh Mendis and Lasith Embuldeniya ran through the West Indies batting line-up to leave them reeling at 52 for 6 at stumps.
Lasith Embuldeniya ? Ramesh Mendis
A fantastic performance from Sri Lanka's spinners in Galle ?https://t.co/9iJOXqJdfV | #SLvWI pic.twitter.com/d0ppxOjZgz
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 25, 2021
Nkrumah Bonner defied Sri Lanka for 173 balls on day five, Joshua Da Silva joined him for a 100-run, 44.4-over stand, but although the sky was swimming with dark clouds, the rain did not arrive until minutes after Sri Lanka claimed the last wicket to clinch victory in Galle.
Offspinner Ramesh Mendis had begun the day with four wickets to his name, but it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who finished with a five-wicket haul – the third of his 11-Test career – claiming all but one of the wickets to fall on day five.
Jayawickrama took the other one. Between them, Sri Lanka’s three frontline spinners took 18 wickets in the 187-run victory.
Note: Input from ESPNcricinfo