Sri Lanka finally nicked the victory in the one Test match against Zimbabwe in the tour. The chase of 388 in the final inning was not only the highest successful for Sri Lanka, but for any team in Asia. Zimbabwe started its inning knocking 356. There was Craig Ervine to steer the inning with his single-handed score of 160. Sri Lanka replied with the score of 346 supported by strong partnership stretches throughout the inning. There were half centuries off Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal. In the second inning, Zimbabwe added 377 runs challenging Sri Lanka with the massive target. It was afternoon session of Day 4 when the host started its final chase.
Sri Lanka batsmen had a strong build up since the beginning of the inning. The partnership between Upul Tharanga and Dimuth Karunaratne lasted until the 20th over, bringing on the opening stand of 58. Kusal Mendis struck a half century scoring 66 runs off 101 runs. The team knocked the score in an ODI style batting with boundaries occasionally. However, the chase plummeted to its lows when Zimbabwe removed 5 wickets by the early 60’s overs. Sri Lanka barely crossed the 200-mark with half of its players returning to pavilion.
It was the crucial partnership between Asela Gunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella that salvage the team. The middle order batsmen forged a 121-run stand steering the chase out of danger. While the former scored 80, the latter came up with 81 runs. Dickwella was removed in the after a stand of almost 30 overs in a delivery from Sean Williams. But Sri Lanka was already out of its trifling point reaching an edge. The long partnership hauled the chase to 324, leaving almost half a day and a couple of wickets in Sri Lanka’s reserve. The winning stretch was from Gunaratne and Perera reaching the mark in 114.5 overs.
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