2nd Test: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Kandy, 4-8 Jan 2002|
Sri Lanka 1st innings:
Zimbabwe 2nd innings:
SRI LANKA FINISH DAY THREE FIRMLY IN CONTROLThe third day of the second Janashakthi National Test with Sri Lanka firmly in control and a series clinching victory on the fourth day now appearing inevitable.
Zimbabwe lost three wickets in the evening to finish the day on 68 for three, still 201 runs in arrears after Sri Lanka’s massive 505 all out earlier in the day.
Gavin Rennie, who had earlier been involved with a verbal joust with Chaminda Vaas, was left unbeaten at the close on 26 not out. Andy Flower was six not out.
The third wicket to fall was that of Trevor Gripper, who was deceived by a straighter ball from Muralitharan and trapped lbw for 21.
Vaas, warmed up by three hours of batting, struck with the first ball of the innings, which he swung back through the gate of Hamilton Masakadza to clean bowl the teenage opener.
Captain Stuart Carlisle only survived the remaining five deliveries by the skin of his teeth as Vaas had two more appeals turned down and overstepped when he looked to have trapped the right-hander lbw.
Next, Muttiah Muralitharan, fielding at mid off, displayed some tidy soccer skills when he kicked down the down the stumps with a 15 yard passing shot off his right boot. Carlisle just survived a trial by television.
But he did not last long as the Sri Lankans probed a tendency to flick the ball in the air on the on side. Five balls after being positioned behind square Marvan Atapattu took a fine tumbling catch to dismiss Carlisle for nine (16 for two).
Nuwan Zoysa also troubled the batsmen. Bowling as quickly as we have seen in recent times, he extracted enough bounce from the pitch to disconcert Trevor Gripper, who was 11 not out at the break.
The hosts led Zimbabwe by 269 runs after a solid batting performance that included a century from captain Sanath Jayasuriya and half-centuries from Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold and Chaminda Vaas.
Nuwan Zoysa appeared half asleep after the tea interval, perhaps distracted by the Kandyan dancing procession during the 20 minute break, as he was run out first ball after tea following a direct hit from Henry Olonga.
Muttiah Muralitharan then came out to bat, which had not been expected and may indicate an improvement in the off-spinners ring finger.
But there was no obvious improvement in his batting, as he was bowled third ball whilst playing across the line of a straight ball from Heath Streak.
Chaminda Vaas was left on 72 not out.
It was a tough session for the visitors under a baking sun. In the morning they had grabbed the wickets of three top order batsmen, but in the afternoon they had been held at bay by two tailenders.
Sri Lanka went into the tea interval on 503 for eight, with a lead of 267. It was the sixth time in seven Tests that Sri Lanka have passed 500 in their first innings.
Having reached his half-century Vaas started to open his shoulders, but defensive fields against the slower bowlers still slowed the run rate.
Vaas was left not out on 71, looking to overhaul a first class best of 74, which he had recorded in the first Test of the series.
The pair had extended their two and a half hour partnership to 111 when Masakadza broke the stand with his part-time leg-breaks.
Fernando, who had just started to show greater aggression, pulled a short ball straight to Travis Friend on the deep mid-wicket boundary. The right-hander had scored 45 from 143 balls, hitting six boundaries in all.
Nuwan Zoysa was four not out having announced his arrival at the crease with a perfectly timed off-drive to the boundary.
At the afternoon water break Sri Lanka were 461 for seven, leaving them with a 225 first innings lead.
Vaas, who scored 75 not out in Colombo, batted patiently after an early flurry of boundaries in the morning eventually passing his fifty after 94 balls.
Fernando had one moment of good fortune when he looked to have been perilously close to being trapped lbw by Olonga but otherwise looked surprisingly assured for a man playing his first Test innings.
The lead was stretched to 175 runs, as Sri Lanka went into lunch on 411 for seven, with Chaminda Vaas on 24 and Charitha Fernando, playing his first innings, on five.
Zimbabwe would have been facing a mountainous deficit had it not been for the efforts of left-arm spinner Grant Flower, who has plugged away diligently and picked up three key top order wickets.
Flower eventually dismissed Russel Arnold who scored 71 before he edged a catch to slip whilst playing defensively (388 for seven). It ended a determined four-hour innings from the left-hander.
Vaas started confidently against Olonga, clattering the dreadlocked fast bower back over his head and then through mid-wicket. But against the spinners he was more circumspect.
Fernando was also cautious, facing 52 balls for his five runs. But Fernando, who bats in the middle order for his club, Panadura Sports Club, looked secure.
It is not known whether Muttiah Muralitharan will bat. His finger is still painful and heavily strapped. The management are concerned that he could damage it whilst batting. He is though expected to bowl.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka remain firmly in control of the second Test match having extended their first innings lead to 149 by the first drinks interval of the day, when they were 385 for six.
Their hopes of building the 250 plus lead wanted last night by captain Sanath Jayasuriya now rest upon the shoulders of left-hander Russel Arnold
Arnold had battled hard yesterday afternoon, determined to compile the big score necessary to safeguard his place in the side.
This morning, however, he batted with greater freedom, hitting five boundaries in the first hour, as he breezed past the 50-mark for the eighth time in his career. At the water break he was 68 not out.
The batsmen to fall were Hashan Tillakaratne for 37 and Thilan Samaraweera, who walked into bat with an average of 144 but proved he was mortal when he was dismissed for 17.
Tillakaratne looked unfortunate as Heath Streak, once again the pick of the bowlers, won a dubious lbw decision, whilst Samaraweera feathered a leg-side catch to Andy Flower behind the stumps.
Chaminda Vaas was seven not out at the break.
Date-stamped : 06 Jan2002 - 14:37