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Hard earned victory for Sri Lanka

Man of the Match, Graeme Cremer, soaked up 175 balls and 121 dots to lead another lower-order rally and raise Zimbabwe’s hopes of saving their 100th Test, but Sri Lanka dug deep into their reserves to secure a hard-earned 225 run victory with 45 balls to spare.

Zimbabwe, who had looked solid in the first session of the day, chocked as they lost too many wickets at the wrong time.

Cremer entered the fray at 100 for 6, seven overs after lunch, after Zimbabwe had lost their last five wickets for 32 runs. He first added 39 for the seventh wicket with Sean Williams in 19.4 overs before marshalling Mumba in a 38-run ninth-wicket stand that lasted 19.1 overs.

It was Williams who laid the groundwork for Zimbabwe’s fight back. He showed restraint, taking 21 balls to get off the mark, before showing his range with paddle-sweeps and even reverse-sweeps against the spinners.

Sri Lanka then dug deep as Herath brought out the carom ball from wide of the crease, and even tried to shake things up with part-time leg-spinner Kusal Mendis. The second new ball ultimately ended Zimbabwe’s resistance.

The Zimbabwean Captain, who begged the man of the match award after his unbeaten ton and 4 wickets said he was disappointed that in the end they lost the match but a lot of positives were realized.

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“It’s upsetting that we couldn’t last the couple of overs. But to last that long was good for Test cricket and lot of positives to take from it. Sri Lanka is a quality unit, but just happy to score some runs for the team when they were in a bit of trouble. Very tough, I thought it (batting) was a lot tougher today. They were bowling well.”

He also said he was happy with his personal performance in the match and promised better performances in the next match.

Zimbabwe lost four wickets for only six runs and later Herath worked his way past Cremer to give Sri Lanka their first away Test win after seven matches, on captaincy debut.

The Asian side’s skipper said going into the last day of the match, they did not have a clear cut plan but just wanted to bowl according to the pitch’s performance.

“We came into the last day with a lot of positive intent. After the rains yesterday, we did not really know how the pitch would perform so the first few overs of the morning session were always going to be crucial for us, and I’m glad the guys did well. We kept on pressing until the Zimbabwean batsmen buckled,” said Herath.

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The next match starts on 6 November at Harare Sports Club.

Match status

Sri Lanka 537 & 247/6d

Zimbabwe 373 & 186 (90.3 overs) Sri Lanka won by 225 runs


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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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