GALLE: Ramesh Mendis led the Sri Lanka fightback at Galle with a six-wicket haul to bowl out the West Indies on day three of the second Test on Wednesday.
The off-spinner belatedly found his line and length, dismissing Nkrumah Bonner to end a 75-run stand with West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.
It broke a two-session drought for Mendis, who then ran through the tourists' middle order to leave the West Indies all out for 253 after tea, a lead of 49.
The West Indies fell apart against the bounce of the new ball, though Mendis was denied a seventh wicket when wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal dropped Kemar Roach on eight.
Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya dismissed Brathwaite with a ball pitched on leg-stump that turned away sharply from the right-hander to clip the top of off-stump.
The West Indies, who have yet to win a Test match in Sri Lanka, were looking at a decent total and a considerable first-innings lead when they finished on 145-2 at lunch.
Brathwaite's straightforward footwork and impregnable defence were a vital bulwark for the West Indies after two top-order collapses in the first Test.
The skipper cashed in when loose balls were on offer and was relentless against Sri Lanka's two left-arm spinners, forcing the hosts to recalibrate to boundary protection.
But the afternoon collapse saw the visitors hand the initiative back to Sri Lanka on a fast deteriorating wicket.
The second Test has been plagued by inclement weather and bad light.
Sri Lanka are without the services of leading batsman Angelo Mathews with a hamstring tear. He is not fielding and will bat only if required.
Sri Lanka lead the two-Test series 1-0.