Sri Lanka reeling despite Mendis ton

by Fazeer Mohammed
Kusal Mendis completed a fifth Test century but it was Sri Lanka's only bright spot on a successful morning for the West Indies

Kusal Mendis completed a fifth Test century but it was Sri Lanka's only bright spot on a successful morning for the West Indies on the final day of the first Test at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on Sunday.

The West Indies claimed four wickets to leave the tourists reeling at 222 for seven at lunch, having been set a daunting target of 453.

Hopes of the tourists seriously challenging a world record chase effectively evaporated with his demise, caught behind for 102 off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel after just over half-an-hour's play.

But even the prospects of saving the match, or at the very least taking the game into the final session, seemed to have disappeared with the loss of three more wickets before the break, including two off the final over bowled by off-spinning all-rounder Roston Chase.

Stubborn nightwatchman Lahiru Gamage had fallen lbw to leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo for just three after more than an hour's resistance but the death knell was really sounded for the Sri Lankans when Chase accounted for both Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella in the space of five deliveries.

Chandimal was forced to curtail his innings yesterday afternoon when on 15 because he was feeling unwell.

He resumed after the fall of Mendis and showed no signs of further discomfort in getting to 27 until a flighted delivery from Chase tempted him into attempting to heave over midwicket only for the miscue to result in a simple catch for Kraigg Brathwaite running around to short mid-on.

It was hardly the sort of example he would have wanted to set as Sri Lanka's captain. Within minutes Chandimal was joined by Dickwella in the dressing room as the wicketkeeper-batsman was trapped palpably leg-before by a quicker delivery from Chase.

It leaves all-rounder Dilruwan Perera and the tail-enders with what looks like the impossible task of defying a buoyant West Indies side on a sun-drenched afternoon.

Earlier, Mendis had wasted no time in getting to three figures. Resuming on 94, he flicked a delivery from West Indies captain Jason Holder to backward square-leg for his tenth boundary.

Mendis also hoisted two sixes in a determined innings that occupied 110 deliveries. Yet for all that time at the crease, there was nothing he could do to avoid an unplayable delivery from Gabriel which kicked off a good length to brush the batsman's gloves on the way through to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.

Kusal Mendis completed a fifth Test century but it was Sri Lanka's only bright spot on a successful morning for the West Indies