Sri Lanka staged an incredible escape act to win the third Test against West Indies in style.
In a match that has seen wickets tumbling at a rapid rate, the good money was on the West Indies rumbling Sri Lanka’s last five wickets before they could knock off the 60-odd runs needed to square the series.
Kusal Mendis was the key man for Sri Lanka, starting the day with his score on 25. One of the form players, Mendis was three runs shy of being the leading run-scorer in the series with 285 runs, just behind West Indian Shane Dowrich who scored 288 runs at 57.60. However, Mendis failed to add to his overnight score, Jason Holder trapping him leg before to shift the balance towards the West Indies.
The wicket gave Holder his five-for, following a brilliant 4-19 in the first innings. The West Indian should have romped to a 10-wicket haul, but Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera (23 off 68 balls) and Kusal Perera (28 not out off 43 balls) denied Holder his first 10-wicket haul as well as denying the West Indies a series win.
Dilruwan added insult to injury by sealing the victory with a well-struck four over mid-off of the second ball of Holder’s 15th over. Holder finished the innings with the impressive figures of 14.2-4-41-5.
It's all over! It's been a great Test and Sri Lanka are the victors, reaching their target of 144 on the fourth day and winning by 4 wickets. The series is tied! What a Test this has been. Jason Holder might have lost out in this one, but he batted and bowled wonderfully! ???? pic.twitter.com/ncbdBenUYY
— ICC (@ICC) June 26, 2018
Their victory comes in the light of the one-match suspension of Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal for ball-tampering. Stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal expressed his joy after the match: ‘I feel so happy. It’s my first Test as captain. I thought it was a good opportunity to lead and I took it. I’m happy with my contributions but also the three fast bowlers all did very well, along with the spinner.’
Dowrich received the Man of the Series award and, although he had produced some good performances during the series, he admitted that ‘it would have been nice to win today but credit goes to the Sri Lanka bowlers. I think we put up a good fight and our bowlers came in strongly as well but, as I said, the Sri Lankan bowlers really set us back.’
Photo: RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images