Sri Lanka defeats dogged Zimbabwe

Sri Lanka overcame spirited resistance from Zimbabwe to secure a 225-run victory in the first Test of the two-match series in Harare. Zimbabwe was bowled out for 186, chasing 412 for victory in the fourth innings.

SurangaLakmalCropped

Sri Lanka's Suranga Lakmal took two middle-order wickets of Hamilton Masakadza and Malcolm Waller.

Sri Lanka overcame spirited resistance from Zimbabwe to secure a 225-run victory in the first Test of the two-match series in Harare. The tourist declared on its overnight total of 247 for 6 and let Zimbabwe, trailing by 411 runs, have a crack at batting out the final day.

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Facing such a mammoth task, Heath Streak's side initially acquitted itself well and had lost only one wicket by the end of the 29th over.

Suranga Lakmal (2 for 43) then started to get some swing and Zimbabwe was five down at lunch, but rallied to make a contest of it, with captain Graeme Cremer (43) again leading the way after his first-innings century. Sean Williams (40) also provided a stubborn rearguard action.

However, Williams went after tea and when Cremer was the ninth man out, there were still 10 overs remaining. Sri Lanka needed just three to finally get the job done with Dilruwan Perera (3 for 34) cleaning up last man Chris Mpofu for a duck.

The host was understandably unadventurous in its play and Brian Chari's 10 runs came off 51 balls before Lahiru Kumara (2 for 45) got one to dart back in and clean up his stumps. Fellow opener Tino Mawoyo was defiant in compiling a credible 37, but his departure was the first of four in as many over as the host's slim hopes faded further.

Craig Ervine fell lbw to Perera without scoring, while Lakmal took out Hamilton Masakadza (20) and Malcom Waller (0) via the same method in the penultimate over before lunch. Kumara accounted for Peter Moor (7) with yet another lbw, but that was the only wicket before tea.

Dour batting

Cremer, unbeaten on 102 in the first innings, came to the crease with a different remit this time and soaked up 20 overs alongside Williams.

The dismissal of Williams in the first over of the third session was key, as Rangana Herath (3 for 38) found the edge. The left-arm spinner, captaining his first Test at the age of 38, then sent Donald Tiripano back to the pavilion without scoring.

Cremer's stubborn knock ended in the 88th over, stumped off Herath, and Mpofu was the last to fall, leaving a relieved Sri Lanka side to celebrate victory.