As ace left-arm orthodox spinner Rangana Herath has rattled the top-order of Zimbabwe on Day three — to set firm grip on the solitary Test at Colombo, in the second innings, but it was the right-handed batsman Sikandar Raza, who came into the rescue — to steady the sinking ship of Zimbabwe when they were reeling at 23 for four in 8.3 overs. (Read Here: Sri Lanka V Zimbabwe, One off Test Day 1 Review: Ervine century helps visitors take Day 1 honours).
At the stumps of third day of the ongoing Test, Zimbabwe were 252 for six, in 68 overs, which further saw them taking the second innings lead of 262, as the 31-year-old Sikandar Raza remained unbeaten on 97 off 158 deliveries. His quality innings included seven boundaries and a six.
On the other side, Malcolm Waller has registered a fine half- century to keep his team in the hunt. The 32-year-old batsman Waller remained unbeaten on 57 off 76 balls. He has smashed eight boundaries.
Interestingly, Raza-Waller pair registered crucial 107 runs for the seventh wicket — to make things miserable for Sri Lanka.
While coming to bat, Zimbabwe lost its first wicket in the form of wicket-keeper batsman Regis Chakabva (6 off 12), who was clean bowled by Rangana Herath when visitors were 14 in 3.1 overs.
As the misery piled up, Zimbabwe lost Tarisai Musakanda on duck off nine deliveries when Dimuth Karunaratne completed a sharp catch on the bowling of Herath at the first slip.
The senior campaigner Hamilton Masakadza (7 runs off 17 balls), was the third man to go, when he was given leg before wicket (LBW), by on-field umpire Ian Gould, however Masakadza went upstairs, but the decision was upheld by third umpire.
Craig Ervine was caught by Karunaratne when he was batting on 5 off 11 balls.
The left-handed bastman Sean Williams got a beauty when he was bowled by Herath after scoring 22 off 37 deliveries.
Peter Moor, who knitted a partnership of 86 for the sixth wicket alongside Raza, was dismissed by Lahiru Kumara when he was caught by substitute Danushka Gunathilaka after scoring 40 off 89 balls, which saw Zimbabwe 145 for six in 41.1 overs at one stage.
Earlier, the hosts Sri Lanka started from their overnight score of 293 for seven when Dinesh Chandimal-led side was trailing by 67 runs.
On the morning session of the Day three, Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer bagged two wickets – to complete his five wicket haul which further saw the Lions were bundled out for 346 in 102.3 overs, as Zimbabwe took the slender of a lead (10 runs), after scoring 356 in their first innings.
The 30-year-old Harare-Born spinner Cremer has caught and bowled Suranga Lakmal on 14 off 17 balls.
The leg-spinner claimed the wicket of Asela Gunaratne, by cleaning him up, when he was batting on 45 off 110 deliveries, to see him completing the five-for.
In Sri Lanka’s first innings, the other wicket of the day came in the form of Rangana Herath (22 off 30), when he was stumped by Regis Chakabva, on the bowling off left-arm orthodox spinner Sean Williams.
The Kandy-born rookie fast bowler Lahiru Kumara remained not out on one.
Brief Scores: Test – Day Three Stumps
Zimbabwe 2nd Innings: 252 for six; leading by 262 runs
Sikandar Raza 97* off 158 balls
Malcolm Waller 57* off 76 balls
Rangana Herath 4 for 85 in 23 overs
Sri Lanka 1st Innings: 246 all-out
Zimbabwe 1st Innings: 356 all-out