Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe Only Test Day 5: Sri Lanka pull off record run-chase to beat Zimbabwe

Sri Lanka pose with the trophy after winning the one-off Test match

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Asela Gunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella scored 80 not out and 81 respectively to help Sri Lanka clinch a record-breaking four-wicket win over Zimbabwe on the final day of the one-off Test in Colombo.

With Sri Lanka successfully reaching their target of 388, they etched their name in the record books as it was the highest total chased down in Test matches in Asia and the fifth-highest target chased down in Test history.

However, Sri Lanka’s victory was marred by some controversy as Dickwella survived a third umpire ruling for a stumping appeal when he was on 37, even though it seemed his foot wasn’t behind the line.

Starting off the day on 170/3, Sri Lanka only added eight runs to their score before batsman Kusal Mendis was dismissed by Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer for 66, which came off 101 balls and included six boundaries.

Angelo Mathews fell shortly after as he was caught and bowled by Cremer for 25.

Despite losing Mendis and Mathews in quick succession, Dickwella and Gunaratne stabilised the innings and put Sri Lanka in the driver’s seat with their crucial 121-run partnership, during which both batsman sailed past their half-centuries.

Dickwella made his highest score in Test cricket

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Dickwella went on to make 81 off 118 balls, which included six boundaries, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Sean Williams.

Despite this, Gunaratne and Dilruwan Perera finished things off for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 67-run stand.

Gunaratne ended up making 80 off 151 balls, which included six boundaries, while Dilruwan remained undefeated on 29 off 76 deliveries, which included four boundaries.

Gunaratne made his third Test fifty

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Cremer was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Williams claimed two.

Cremer was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Disappointing but credit to Sri Lanka, to chase 380 on a day-five pitch is pretty special. So credit to them, but credit to our guys as well. The way the guys fought and got the runs on the board and pushed Sri Lanka till he last day was great.

“We don’t play enough Test cricket, so it’s hard sometimes making decisions out there, but there is a lot to learn from this Test match. The one-day series is a high point for us, we brought that confidence into the Test match and it gave us the belief that we could push the big teams.”

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was over the moon to have won, and said: “It’s been a really good five days, so credit goes to all the players, they stuck to the plans and went there and did their best. It’s always tough when you’re batting in the fourth innings but I told the team that they should play their normal game and they played some outstanding innings, especially Dickwella and Asela.

“Of course, it’s always challenging as a captain but it’s about doing the right things on and off the field. It (series against India) is obviously a tough challenge for us. As a team, everyone does their best, and I hope they will do the same against India.”

Gunaratne was named Man of the Match, while Rangana Herath received the Man of the Series award.

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