Sri Lanka was on 293 for 7 wickets at the close of play on the second day of the one off Test match, and trailing 63 runs as Zimbabwe kept a tight rein on the hosts at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.
Having got off to a good start with Dimuth Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga putting on 84 for the first wicket, Sri Lanka lost two quick wickets that of Kusal Mendis for 10 when the total was 107 and Tharanga at 116. Tharanga played the pivotal sheet anchor role carving 71 off 100 balls inclusive of six boundaries and was unlucky to have run himself out when in sight of a well-deserved century.
His departure put the onus on new captain Dinesh Chandimal and former captain Angelo Mathews who checked Zimbabwe’s charge through a timely 96-run alliance when Chandimal departed caught by Chakabwa off the bowling of Cremer for 55. His 100-ball half century spanning six boundaries was a captain courageous rescue effort, and as much by Mathews’ 104-ball 41 containing two boundaries. Mathews departed when the score was 238 having seen wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella dismissed cheaply for 6 bowled by Cremer.
He was dismissed by Williams when he was caught by Masakadza. However, full marks to Dilruwan Perera, who shrugged off the pressure of the selectors knives dangling over him having lost his ODI place recently, as he compiled a 43-ball 33 before throwing his wicket by getting run out. Promoted to No.7 following a hamstring to Asela Gunaratne, Perea produced the type of batting clout that fetched him a century in a Test in the series winning milestone against Australia. But once again indiscretion reined by lack of discipline that is required in a 5-day Test match when the Perera-Asela Gunaratne seventh wicket alliance was blossoming to bigger things at a time Sri Lanka needed a big partnership. The total was 274 at the time, and it was left to Gunaratne and Rangana Herath to take it further in an unbroken 19 runs for the eighth wicket putting on 36 runs for the with Asela Gunaratne who remained unbeaten on 24 when bad light ended play 7 overs early. A.G. Cremer was the most successful bowler for Zimbabwe with 3 wickets for 100.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-