19 Jul 2017

Sri Lanka deny Zimbabwe series win

7:01 am on 19 July 2017

Sri Lanka have denied Zimbabwe their first series away win in 16 years by chasing down a record 388 to win the one-off cricket Test by four wickets in Colombo.

 Sri Lanka cricketers celebrate

Sri Lanka cricketers celebrate Photo: Photosport

The hosts made 391-6 to defeat the visitors on the final day of an intriguing Test.

Niroshan Dickwella and Asela Gunaratne hit crucial half centuries to guide Sri Lanka to their highest successful run chase in Test history, and the fifth highest ever by any nation.

Chasing 388 for a win, Sri Lanka, who had lost their first one-day international series against Zimbabwe prior to the test, had been reduced to 203 for five before Dickwella and Gunaratne combined in a stand of 121 to anchor the chase.

Dickwella was out for 81 after posting his highest test score while Gunaratne, who battled on despite suffering from a hamstring injury, remained 80 not out.

Sri Lanka's previous highest run chase was against South Africa in 2006 when they made 352-9 in the fourth innings in Colombo. Their total of 391-6 was the fifth highest run chase by any team in tests.

The touring side, chasing their first test win against Sri Lanka, made a good start to the final day when they picked up two early wickets through captain Graeme Cremer after the hosts had resumed on 170-3.

The leg-spinner, who took his maiden five-wicket haul in the first innings, took his second innings tally to four victims when he sent back Kusal Mendis, who made 66, and former captain Angelo Mathews for 25.

However, Sri Lanka fought back through Dickwella and Gunaratne before the former was caught by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva off left-arm spinner Sean Williams.

Chakabva, however, had an otherwise forgetful day behind the stumps as he missed chances to get both batsmen out.