Sri Lanka let the match slip out of their hands
By Krunal, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer
Only Test: Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe at R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, July 14 - 18, 2017, Cricket Highlights.
At the start of Day 3, Sri Lanka had a deficit of 63 runs, which they were soon able to reduce down to 34 and still had their 3 wickets intact. The 48-run partnership between Gunaratne and Herath was then broken by Sean Williams, who got the latter stumped for 22. The hosts were eventually bowled out for 346, with Graeme Cremer picking up the final two wickets and finishing with a five-wicket haul. This meant that Zimbabwe were only able to get a first-innings lead of 10 runs.
The start to Zimbabwe’s second innings was a horrible one as they lost four wickets for mere 23 runs on the board. It was none other than the wily left-arm spinner, Rangana Herath, who wrecked havoc in the opposition’s camp by getting the top-three batsmen back in the pavilion.
Post the lunch interval, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza added 36 runs for the fifth-wicket partnership to somewhat revive the innings, but Zimbabwe needed a much bigger partnership than that to make a comeback in the game. Their batsmen were able to build not one, but two such partnerships, which helped the visitors to stage a remarkable comeback in the game.
To begin with, it was the pair of Sikandar Raza and Peter Moor, who formed a strong alliance for the 6th wicket partnership and batted right through the second session to bail their team out of the tricky situation. Raza batted simply brilliantly and didn’t even spare the likes of Herath, as he smashed him for 3 consecutive boundaries in one over.
The feature of Zimbabwe batting on this tour has been the use of sweeps and reverse-sweeps and Raza displayed it once again. Peter Moor too played really well and along with Raza, guided his team close to 150 runs. The 86-run partnership was broken by Lahiru Kumara, who in his comeback spell, got rid of Moor. Sri Lanka had a slight opening at this stage, but that too was close by Raza and his new partner Malcolm Waller.
It was this partnership that changed the complex of the game and completely snatched away the advantage that the hosts had at the beginning of the innings. Even though Raza was suffering from dehydration due to the hot and humid conditions, he stood his ground firm and continued his fine innings. Along with Waller, he took his team past the 250-run mark and was unbeaten on 97 at the end of Day 3. The lead for Zimbabwe is now 262 runs and with both the set batsmen still out there, they would look to set a target of 350 or so.