S Lanka forces vic­tory after Zim­babwe fight

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Sri Lanka forced a late vic­tory in the first test as it fi­nally bowled Zim­babwe out with less than eight overs left in the match to win by 225 runs yes­ter­day.

Chris Mpofu was the last man out as the home team was dis­missed for 186 in its se­cond in­nings at the very end of the fi­nal day. But the cru­cial mo­ment came just be­fore that when Zim­babwe cap­tain Graeme Cre­mer fell for 43 to a rash shot with just over 10 overs re­main­ing, and when he ap­peared set to save the game along­side tailen­der Car Mumba.

Off­spin­ner Dil­ruwan Perera took the fi­nal wicket for Sri Lanka, and he and fel­low slow bowler Rangana Herath claimed three wick­ets each in the fi­nal in­nings on a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing pitch at Harare Sports Club.

Sri Lanka dom­i­nated the match after mak­ing 537 bat­ting first, and ul­ti­mately wrapped up a fourth straight test win after white­wash­ing Aus­tralia 3-0 at home in Au­gust.

Sri Lanka will seek an­other series win in the se­cond and fi­nal test in Harare start­ing on Sun­day, and will be boosted by this re­sult from an un­der­strength team with reg­u­lar skip­per An­gelo Mathews and vice cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal miss­ing from the tour be­cause of in­jury.

The tourists de­clared their se­cond in­nings on 247-6 overnight, leav­ing Zim­babwe a day to sur­vive. The vic­tory tar­get of 412, which would have been a record fourth-in­nings score at Harare Sports Club, was never a re­al­is­tic op­tion for Zim­babwe.

There was some early re­sis­tance from opener Tino Ma­woyo’s 37 and Sean Wil­liams’ 40, but the re­sult seemed in­evitable when stand-in cap­tain Herath trapped Don­ald Tiri­pano lbw for a duck and Zim­babwe was 145-8.

Cre­mer stood firm for nearly three hours, and faced 144 balls for his stub­born 43. He and No. 10 Mumba, who was play­ing his first test, held Sri Lanka at bay for nearly 20 overs. But one slip in con­cen­tra­tion spelled the end for Zim­babwe when Cre­mer ven­tured out of his crease and tried to play across the line to Herath, mis­judged, and was stumped. Perera sealed vic­tory three overs later when he bowled Mpofu for a duck.

Zim­babwe was pay­ing its 100th test, but the mile­stone only high­lighted the team’s strug­gles since its de­but in 1992. The loss against Sri Lanka was Zim­babwe’s 63rd de­feat in those 100 tests. Zim­babwe has won just 11 tests in 24 years. — AP

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