Sri Lanka 200 and 206 (Mathews 46, Siriwardana 42, Brathwaite 6-29) lead West Indies 163 by 243 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Part-time offspinner Kraigg Brathwaite, who had managed only three wickets in 81 first-class matches before this Test, claimed figures of 11.3-4-29-6 to run though Sri Lanka’s middle and lower order, but contrasting forties from Milinda Siriwardana and Angelo Mathews set the visitors a target of 244.
If Kaushal Silva’s 105-ball vigil was boundaryless, Siriwardana’s second and third scoring shots were caressed past the covers for fours. He clouted Jomel Warrican over midwicket and then sent Devendra Bishoo straight down the ground. By then the lead had crossed 150. Bishoo too got alarming turn but erred short, as he has been throughout the series, allowing Angelo Mathews to settle down.
Mathews was more sedate, wedging the ball into the gaps, and was the ninth Sri Lanka batsman dismissed for 46, falling short of his fifth fifty-plus score in five Tests at the P Sara Oval. Dilruwan Perera nicked to slip the next ball, giving Brathwaite his sixth wicket, and Jermaine Blackwood his fifth catch.
West Indies had begun well before ceding the stage to Siriwardana and Mathews. Warrican found the outside edge in the first over of the day but it snuck away to the right of Denesh Ramdin and did not carry to slip either.
It was not long before Silva’s bubble burst as he played against the turn, lobbing a catch straight to Blackwood at slip. Two balls later, Jerome Taylor removed Chandimal with an inducker, Ramdin taking a sharper catch flinging himself to his left.
Brathwaite followed it with another double-strike. He first got one to spin away from round the wicket and broke a busy 67-run partnership by nipping out Siriwardana. He then struck at the stroke of lunch, having Kusal Perera forcing an edge behind to leave the hosts six down.
Rangana Herath came out swinging after lunch, hitting reverse-sweeps as well as orthodox sweeps in a 30-run stand with Mathews. Brathwaite, however, polished Sri Lanka off, the last four wickets tumbling for 11 runs.
With the pitch starting to play more tricks, West Indies face the prospect of delivering their best batting performance for the series for them to draw level with Sri Lanka.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.