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Sri Lanka ahead after imposing a gutsy follow-on

Rangana Herath registered his 23rd five-wicket haul on day three of the first Test against West Indies.
Rangana Herath registered his 23rd five-wicket haul on day three of the first Test against West Indies.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 484 (Karunaratne 186) v
West Indies 
251 & 67-2 (f/o) (Brathwaite 34)
First Test, Galle, day three

Rangana Herath's heroics with the ball allowed Sri Lanka to enforce the follow-on and threaten West Indies with defeat as they closed day three of the first Test in Galle 166 runs behind.

The overnight unbeaten pair of Darren Bravo (50) and Marlon Samuels (11) resumed proceedings for the visitors before Herath (6-68) provided the early breakthrough in the final delivery of the third over by dismissing Samuels.

Jermaine Blackwood's (11) fleeting stay at the crease was brought to an end by Dhammika Prasad (2-38) as Milinda Siriwardana (0-13) took a juggling catch in the slips.

Bravo continued playing his natural game from the other end as he reached his 12th Test fifty off 105 balls with the help of eight boundaries and a solitary six.

Shortly after reaching the milestone, he was dismissed by Herath as Dinesh Chandimal took a swift catch at mid-wicket.

Wickets then kept on tumbling at regular interval for the visitors as the majority of the batsmen failed to capitalize on making starts.

Denesh Ramdin (23) and Jason Holder (19) failed to perform the rescue act as the follow-on became imminent for the Caribbean side.

Just when things looked like a walk in the park for the home team, the West Indian tail showed limited but worthy resistance. 

Kemar Roach (22), Jerome Taylor (31) and Devendra Bishoo (23 not out), each took a decent bite out of the Sri Lankan lead.

Herath dismissed Shanon Gabriel (0) to conclude the West Indian innings to end up with impressive bowling figures of six for 68 while getting his 23rd five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Prasad managed to pick up a couple of wickets at the cost of 38 runs whereas Nuwan Pradeep (1-56) and Tharindu Kaushal (1-65) proved costly.

With a lead of only 233 runs at their disposal, Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews took a gutsy decision to impose the follow-on after having a word with his bowlers.

West Indies openers, with a mammoth task on their hands, began cautiously playing each ball on its merit.

Hearth (1-17) was introduced in the very second over of the innings - as expected. 

After nine overs of play and with Herath off the field, Mathews handed over the ball to the debutant Siriwardana (1-30) who dismissed Shai Hope (6) with the final delivery of his first over.

Bravo (20 not out) and Kraigg Brathwaite (34) managed to guide the visitors without any further damage for the next 13 overs.

With only a few overs left in the day, Herath scalped his fifth victim of the day as he dismissed Brathwaite, trapped lbw. Nightwatchman Bishoo (6 not out) played his part to perfection by surviving the final few overs.

At stumps West Indies are still trailing by 166 runs with eight wickets in hand.

With the match heading into day four, the pitch will offer a lot more assistance to the spinners with the cracks opening up further, making Sri Lanka favourites to go 1-0 up in the series.

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