Sri Lanka make record run chase to beat Zim­babwe

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Niroshan Dick­wella and Asela Gu­naratne guided Sri Lanka to a record 388 tar­get to beat Zim­babwe by four wick­ets yes­ter­day in a pul­sat­ing end to their one-off Test. A cru­cial 121-run sixth-wicket stand be­tween Gu­naratne (80 not out) and Dick­wella (81) se­cured Sri Lanka’s best-ever run chase. Sri Lanka’s pre­vi­ous best was against South Africa in 2006, when they achieved a 352-run tar­get. Yes­ter­day’s chase was also the high­est in Asia and fifth best in Tests.

Man-of-the-match Gu­naratne an­chored the chase to per­fec­tion af­ter Dick­wella’s de­par­ture, putting on an un­beaten 67-run part­ner­ship with Dil­ruwan Per­era (29 not out) to take Sri Lanka to vic­tory. The win in Colombo was a boost for new Test cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal and eased Sri Lanka’s pain af­ter a shock de­feat in the one-day se­ries against the min­nows.

“It’s al­ways tough when you’re bat­ting in the fourth in­nings but I told the team that they should play their nor­mal game and they played some out­stand­ing in­nings, es­pe­cially Dick­wella and Asela,” Chandi­mal said.

“It’s al­ways chal­leng­ing as a cap­tain but it’s about do­ing the right things on and off the field,” said Chandi­mal, who took over af­ter An­gelo Mathews quit be­cause of the ODI loss. Zim­babwe skip­per Graeme Cre­mer claimed four wick­ets with his leg-spin to re­turn over­all fig­ures of 9275 at the R. Pre­madasa Sta­dium.

But Gu­naratne, who played most of the Test as a bats­man af­ter in­jur­ing his ham­string in the first in­nings, tack­led the Zim­babwe spin­ners with ease dur­ing his 151-ball stay. Wick­et­keeper-bats­man Dick­wella rode his luck to reach 81 be­fore be­ing caught be­hind off left-arm spin­ner Sean Wil­liams while at­temp­ing an au­da­cious re­verse sweep. Dick­wella sur­vived a stump­ing chance from Sikan­dar Raza’s off-spin on 37 and was then dropped by wick­et­keeper Regis Chak­abva on 63.

The stump­ing re­prieve cost Zim­babwe dearly. It was re­ferred to the third um­pire, who ruled him not out de­spite re­plays show­ing his toe was on the crease — a case where the bats­man can be given out.

HERATH EF­FECT

Ear­lier, Cre­mer sent overnight bats­man Kusal Mendis trudg­ing back to the pavil­ion for 66 af­ter Sri Lanka re­sumed on 170-3. Cre­mer struck again with his leg-spin to have Mathews caught and bowled for 25. The vis­i­tors scented vic­tory, but it was not to be for the 10th-ranked side.

“Credit to them... but the way the guys fought and got the runs on the board and pushed Sri Lanka till the last day was great,” said Cre­mer. “The one-day se­ries is a high point for us, we brought that con­fi­dence into the Test match and it gave us the be­lief that we could push the big teams.”

For Sri Lanka, vet­eran left-arm spin­ner Ran­gana Herath also stood out with five wicket hauls in each in­nings. He got the man of the se­ries award for his over­all match fig­ures of 11-249. Zim­babwe bats­man Craig Ervine’s 160 in the first in­nings and al­lrounder Raza’s 127 in the sec­ond es­say were also notable per­for­mances in the match.

Sri Lanka host the num­ber-one ranked In­dia for three Tests, five one day in­ter­na­tion­als and a sin­gle Twenty20 later this month. — AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan cricket cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal poses with the tro­phy af­ter vic­tory in the fi­nal day of a one­off Test match be­tween Sri Lanka and Zim­babwe at the R Pre­madasa Cricket Sta­dium in Colombo yes­ter­day. — AFP

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