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Cricket | Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka 2017

Sikandar Raza © Gallo Images

Raza, Waller put Zim on top in Colombo

Sikandar Raza hit a gritty 97 not out to help Zimbabwe recover from a top-order collapse and stretch their second innings lead over Sri Lanka to 262 in the one-off test in Colombo on Sunday.

The visitors were 252 for six at stumps on day three, with Raza and Malcolm Waller (57) putting on an unbeaten 107-run stand for the seventh-wicket at the R Premadasa Stadium.

Raza lifted Zimbabwe from a precarious 23-4, followed by 59-5, after Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath rattled the visitors' batting with four early wickets.

Herath, who got three wickets before the lunch break, bowled Sean Williams for 22 in the second session as Zimbabwe teetered dangerously close to losing their 10-run advantage.

It was then that Raza put together 86 runs with Peter Moor (40) for the sixth wicket to turn the tables on Sri Lanka. Moor fell to paceman Lahiru Kumara.

Raza, who registered his fifth test fifty, used the sweep shot to great effect against the spinners as he found another partner in Waller to thwart the Sri Lankan bowling attack.

"The dressing room was very quiet after the lunch break as we were 23-4. Then we said to ourselves, let's fight back and show that we mean business," Waller told reporters.

"We have created history in the ODI series and we have a great chance here as well. If we can get another 100 runs that will give us a good chance to win this test," Waller, whose side eye their first-ever test win over Sri Lanka, added.

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Earlier skipper Graeme Cremer helped Zimbabwe take the lead after claiming his maiden five-wicket haul in a test, helping bowl Sri Lanka for 346 in the morning session.

But it was Herath's left-arm spin that undid the fine work from legspinner Cremer (5-125).

Herath, who registered his 30th test five-wicket haul in the first innings, ran riot at the start of Zimbabwe's second essay to get the wickets of Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda and Regis Chakabva.

Offspinner Dilruwan Perera joined forces to get the prized wicket of first-innings centurion Craig Ervine for five at the stroke of lunch.

While Sri Lanka look for redemption under new test captain Dinesh Chandimal after their shock loss in the one-day series against Zimbabwe, the visitors eye their first-ever test win over the islanders.

Sri Lanka's interim coach Nic Pothas, who took over the job after Graham Ford prematurely ended his contract last month, was not surprised by the visiting sides' fighting qualities.

"The fight that Zimbabwe have shown is not surprising at all. They have a quality support staff and they have some fine players," said Pothas, who represented South Africa in three ODIs.

"I have played against Zimbabwe when I was playing for South Africa and they used to always put up good fights."

Report Day 1
Report Day 2

SRI LANKA: WU Tharanga, FDM Karunaratne, BKG Mendis, LD Chandimal (capt), AD Mathews, DAS Gunaratne, N Dickwella (wk), MDK Perera, HMRKB Herath, RAS Lakmal, CBRLS Kumara

ZIMBABWE: RW Chakabva, H Masakadza, TK Musakanda, CR Ervine, SC Williams, Sikandar Raza, MN Waller, PJ Moor (wk), AG Cremer (capt), CB Mpofu, DT Tiripano


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