Kusal Mendis keeps Sri Lanka's record chase on track against Zimbabwe

Kusal Mendis scored a fluent half-century to keep Sri Lanka's hopes of chasing a record 388 alive on day four of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe on Monday.

Published: 17th July 2017 01:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2017 07:09 PM   |  A+A-

While Zimbabwe eye their first-ever Test win against Sri Lanka, the hosts are looking for redemption under new Test captain Dinesh Chandimal after a shock loss in the one-day series.

Zimbabwe's captain Graeme Cremer, right, celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga (AP)

By AFP

COLOMBO: Kusal Mendis scored a fluent half-century to keep Sri Lanka's hopes of chasing a record 388 alive on day four of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe on Monday.

The hosts were 170 for three at stumps, with Mendis (60) batting alongside Angelo Mathews (17) at Colombo's R. Premadasa Stadium.

Sri Lanka's highest-ever successful run chase was against South Africa in 2006, when they achieved their 352-run target in Colombo.

Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer dented the hosts with his leg-spin, claiming the important wickets of Upul Tharanga (27) and his opposite number Dinesh Chandimal (15).

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne was bowled by left-arm spinner Sean Williams for 49 as the visitors persisted with an all-spin attack in the 48 overs bowled in the innings so far.

Karunaratne said Cremer - who bagged his maiden five-wicket Test haul in Sri Lanka's first innings - would pose the biggest threat on a fifth-day track.

"We have got to watch out for Cremer. He is creating the most trouble. There is lot of assistance for the wrist spinner," Karunaratne told reporters.

"We have already got 170 runs on the board... once the ball gets softer, it gets easier. If these two guys are able to hang in there for one and a half hours we will get into an interesting position."

Mendis, who fought off hamstring trouble in the final session of play, put together an unbeaten 37-run stand with Mathews to take the delicately poised Test into its final day.

Zimbabwe were earlier bowled out for 377 in the second session, with Sikandar Raza (127) top-scoring for the visitors with his maiden Test century.Sri Lanka's highest-ever successful run chase was against South Africa when they achieved their 352-run target in the 2006 Colombo Test.

The hosts, who suffered a shock defeat in the preceding one-day series against the low-ranked African side, still require another 332 to win with all their wickets intact. 

Zimbabwe were earlier bowled out for 377 in the second session with Sikandar Raza (127) top-scoring for the visitors with his maiden Test century.

Graeme Cremer was the last man out for 48 off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who returned figures of 6-133 to take his match tally to 11 wickets.

The Pakistan-born Raza steered the team's middle and lower-order to help his side accumulate 318 runs after being reduced to 59-5 on day three.

Raza's 144-run partnership with Malcolm Waller (68) was the highlight of the Zimbabwe innings after the duo resumed play on the team's overnight score of 252-6.Skipper Graeme Cremer was the last man out for 48 off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who returned with figures of 6-133 to take his match tally to 11 wickets.

Sikandar Raza (127) top-scored for the visitors with his maiden Test ton as the team's middle and lower-order accumulated 318 runs after being reduced to 59-5 on day three.

While Zimbabwe eye their first-ever Test win against Sri Lanka, the hosts are looking for redemption under new Test captain Dinesh Chandimal after a shock loss in the one-day series.

The visitors took lunch at 340 for eight with skipper Graeme Cremer (35) batting alongside Donald Tiripano (8).

Overnight batsmen Malcolm Waller (68) and Raza, who started the day on 97, were the two wickets to fall in the morning session after Zimbabwe resumed the day on 252-6 in the one-off Test.

Raza was bowled for 127 after attempting an audacious reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who took his overall match tally to 10 with a five-for in each innings.

Waller was the first to go, falling to off-spinner Dilruwan Perera after adding just 11 runs to his overnight score. His wicket ended a 144-run seventh-wicket stand.

The Pakistan-born Raza put Zimbabwe on top after they were left tottering at 23-4 and 59-5 on the third day with Herath rattling the visitors' top-order.

Raza, 31, combined the right dose of caution and aggression to thwart the Sri Lankan bowling attack during his 205-ball stay laced with nine fours and a six.

All-rounder Cremer, who got his maiden five-wicket haul in the Sri Lankan innings, took over the batting charge from Raza to frustrate the opposition bowling with some quick runs.

While Zimbabwe eye their first-ever Test win against Sri Lanka, the hosts are looking for redemption under new Test captain Dinesh Chandimal after a shock loss in the one-day series.

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