Veteran batsman Angelo Mathews struck an unbeaten 92 and Kusal Mendis 80 as Sri Lanka dominated the third day of the first test against Zimbabwe reaching 295 for 4 wickets in cutting down the first innings deficit to just 63 runs at stumps at the Harare Sports Club grounds on Tuesday. The 32-year old Mathews, Sri Lanka’s most experienced batsman, was nearer to his 10th test century.
It was the ideal scripting by the Lankans as Mathews’s 253-ball knock contained 7 boundaries and 2 sixes while Mendis tuned up in a 163-ball innings laced with 8 hits to the ropes. Upfront, Mendis figured in a 60-run alliance with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne who made 37 off 78 balls hitting 4 boundaries as Sri Lanka reached 92 for 2 when the Sri Lankan skipper was dismissed by paceman Nyauchi to a catch held by Ndlovu. Then followed a 92-run partnership for the third wicket between Mendis and Mathews when Mendis, who had done all the hard work and looked set for a century, became Nyauchi’s second victim caught by Taylor with the total reading 184. Next man in Dinesh Chandimal lasted 32 balls for 12 when he was caught and bowled by Williams as Zimbabwe claimed a fourth wicket making it 227 for 4. But that was all they would get as the ‘Mr. Reliable’ of the Lankan side Dhananjaya de Silva joined Mathews in an unfinished fifth wicket partnership of 68-runs.
Zimbabwe 1st Innings 358 All out
(148 Overs) Run rate: 2.41
(C.R. Irvine 85, K.T. Kasuza 63, P.S. Masvaure 55, D.T. Tiripano n.o. 44, Sikander Raza 41, B.R.M. Taylor 21, S.C. Williams 18, L. Embuldeniya 5/114, ,R.A.S. Lakmal 3/53, C.B.R.L.S. Kumara 2/82)
Sri Lanka 42/1 overnight, 295/4 (106 Overs) Run rate: 2.78
(A.D. Mathews n.o. 92, B.K.G. Mendis 80, D.M. de Silva n.o. 42, F.D.M. Karunaratne 37, B.O.P. Fernando 21, V.M. Nyauchi 2/38)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-