Sri Lanka pull off record chase to beat Zimbabwe
Fighting half-centuries by Niroshan Dickwella and Asela Gunaratne sparked Sri Lanka to a record 388 target to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets Tuesday in a pulsating end to the 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 in Colombo.
Sri Lanka's previous best was against South Africa in 2006, when they achieved a 352-run target. The fourth innings total against Zimbabwe was also the highest in Asia and fifth highest in Tests.
The win 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.
Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer claimed four wickets with his leg-spin to return overall figures of 9-275 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
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).
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 first survived a stumping chance from Sikandar Raza's off-spin on 37 and was then dropped by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva on 63 to put the hosts on course for a win.
Dickwella's stumping reprieve cost the visitors dearly after 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.
Completed scoreboard on the fifth day
Zimbabwe 1st innings 356 (C. Ervine 160; R. Herath 5-116)
Sri Lanka 1st innings 346 (U. Tharanga 71, D. Chandimal 55; G. Cremer 5-125)
Zimbabwe 2nd innings 377 (S. Raza 127, M. Waller 68; R. Herath 6-133)
Sri Lanka 2nd innings (target 388, overnight 170-3)
D. Karunaratne b Williams 49
U. Tharanga c Moor b Cremer 27
K. Mendis c Williams b Cremer 66
D. Chandimal c Masakadza b Cremer 15
A. Mathews c & b Cremer 25
N. Dickwella c Chakabva b Williams 81
A. Gunaratne not out 80
D. Perera not out 29
Extras (b9, lb8, w2) 19
Total (6 wickets; 114.5 overs) 391
Still to bat: R. Herath, S. Lakmal, L. Kumara
Fall of wickets: 1-58 (Tharanga), 2-108 (Karunaratne), 3-133 (Chandimal), 4-178 (Mendis), 5-203 (Cremer), 6-324 (Dickwella)
Bowling: Raza 13-1-58-0; Williams 43.5-2-146-2 (w2); Cremer 48-6-150-4; Waller 4-0-10-0; C. Mpofu 6-3-10-0
Result: Sri Lanka won by four wickets
Man-of-the-match: Asela Gunaratne
Man-of-the-series: Rangana Herath
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG), Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Chettithody Shamshuddin (IND)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)