The West Indies started off the second Test at Galle with enough promise, but as usual, they lost their way despite gaining the upper hand. The spin duo of Sri Lanka Lasith Embuldeniya and Ramish Mendis spun the web around West Indian batters to gift Mickey Arthur a perfect farewell.

On Day 1, Galle experienced rainfall and almost two sessions of play were lost.

After the match commenced, Pathum Nissanka breezed his way to a half-century, Dimuth Karunaratne fell eight short of a fifty that would have seen him equal a world record, and on a day in which rain washed out the first two sessions, Sri Lanka gained a significant advantage, moving to 113 for 1 in the 33.4 overs that were possible.

Inclement weather allowed half a day’s play on Day 2.

The West Indies took big strides towards squaring the series in that short time.

Following a morning session that brought nine Sri Lankan wickets for just 91 runs, West Indies came up with a solid batting display after lunch, bringing the gap to 135 runs for the loss of only Jermaine Blackwood’s wicket before the rain came.

Day 3 offered no interference from the Gods of Rain.

The visitors lost wickets against a determined Sri Lankan bowling unit.

Despite losing their last seven wickets for just 87 runs earlier in the day, Kraigg Brathwaite would have been buoyed by how well the top order coped with Sri Lanka’s spin threat for the most part. He himself was the top scorer, hitting 72 off 185, while Jermaine Blackwood (44), Nkrumah Bonner (35) and Kyle Mayers (36) all chipped in with handy knocks to secure a 49-run lead.

That could have been considerably more had it not been for the Sri Lankan spinners who, after a sub-par showing in the morning, imparted a vice grip on the visitors after lunch.

Ramesh Mendis was the undoubted star for the hosts, ending with career-best figures of 6 for 70 – his first five-wicket haul in Tests – while Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama picked up two apiece.

Mayers’ unbeaten 36 off 64 late on had briefly threatened to balloon the lead, but he eventually ran out of partners.

Mendis, Embuldeniya and Jayawickrama all found better lengths after lunch and in the process drying up the scoring. They were also perhaps aided by the extra bounce afforded by the new ball, with five of the six wickets to fall in the session coming after they opted for it – the last two wickets fell swiftly after tea.

On Day 4, Dhananjaya de Silva shone.

De Silva was 153 not out off 259 balls by stumps, put on 78 alongside Pathum Nissanka to rescue Sri Lanka from immediate peril, and made 51 with Ramesh Mendis during a second session in which West Indies’ spinners made a four-wicket charge, but it was with Embuldeniya with whom he produced the most consequential and perhaps match-defining partnership – an as-yet unbeaten association of 107 runs, during which he completed his eighth Test century, and breezed past 150, plundering 73 runs off 98 balls from a tiring attack.

He was dropped twice – both times off the bowling of Veerasammy Permaul.

On the final day, the West Indies had needed to bat out 93 overs after Sri Lanka declared their innings 2.4 overs into the day. Although during times in the morning session it seemed as if they were going to make the hosts toil, West Indies fell away rapidly after lunch, losing their last eight wickets for 40 runs, in the space of 13 overs.

Mendis struck early in the day to remove Brathwaite, claimed three wickets in a single over during the middle session, then completed his second five-wicket haul of the match, while Embuldeniya also took five at the other end. Between the two finger-spinners, they dismissed West Indies for 132 inside 56 overs.

Sri Lanka’s winning margin was 164. Having now whitewashed this opposition, they take 100% of the World Test Championship points on offer for this series.

The Test match was Arthur’s sweet farewell as the head coach of Sri Lanka.

Arthur has been with the Sri Lanka team for two years now, and given the travel restrictions to Australia, has spent almost that entire time either in Sri Lanka or with the team as they travelled. With many players going straight into a Lanka Premier League bio-bubble on Saturday, the series-winning celebration on Friday night is Arthur’s last opportunity to spend time with many of the players he has coached in that time.

“I’m going to get really emotional tonight when we eventually say farewell because the characters who are in that dressing room are remarkable. They’re really a wonderful bunch of players and bunch of people.”


Note: Input from ESPNcricinfo

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