Sri Lanka built a lead of 142 over the West Indies on the fourth day of the first Test here yesterday, and although their progress was slow they should still have left sufficient time for their dangerous off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan to convert the advantage into victory.
A late declaration at 590 for 9 left them with a minimum of 100 overs to complete the job and, in the seven available before fading light ended play for the day, they removed the West Indies' opener Chris Gayle.
Tight West Indies' bowling, sharp fielding and a lack of enterprise from Hashan Tillakeratne and Thilsan Samaraweera (77) in a sixth-wicket stand of 154 kept the rate down to less than three an over.
Tillekeratne, unbeaten on 105, completed his hundred just before the declaration after six hours 25 minutes of diligent application. Earlier Kumar Sangakkara had made 140.
Fourth day; West Indies won toss
WEST INDIES – First Innings 448 (B C Lara 178, R R Sarwan 88, C L Hooper 69; M Muralitharan 6-126, W P U J C Vaas 4-95).
SRI LANKA – First Innings
ÝK Sangakkara run out 140
R P Arnold lbw b Ramnarine 33
H P Tillakaratne not out 105
T T Samaraweera c Jacobs b Stuart 77
W P U Vaas c Samuels b Dillon 7
M R C Bandaratilleke
c Jacobs b Ramnarine 4
M Muralitharan lbw b Stuart 14
Extras (b1 lb13 w4 nb7) 25
Total (for 9 dec) 590
Fall (cont): 4-358, 5-395, 6-549, 7-562, 8-567, 9-590.
Did not bat: T C B Fernando.
Bowling: Dillon 51-11-121-2; Stuart 37.4-7-138-2 (w3, nb2); McGarrell 31-3-95-0; Ramnarine 58-12-158-3 (w3, nb1); Hooper 24-3-59-0; Samuels 1-0-5-0.
WEST INDIES – Second Innings
D Ganga not out 3
C H Gayle c Muralitharan b Vaas 1
R R Sarwan not out 5
Total (for 1) 9
To bat: B C Lara, *C L Hooper, M N Samuels, ÝR D Jacobs, N C McGarrell, M Dillon, C E L Stuart, D Ramnarine.
Bowling: Vaas 2-0-3-1; Bandaratilleke 3-2-4-0; Muralitharan 2-0-2-0.
Umpires: J H Hampshire (Eng) and P T Manuel (Sri Lanka).Reuse content