Colombo — Fighting half-centuries by Niroshan Dickwella and Asela Gunaratne sparked Sri Lanka to a record 388 target to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets on Tuesday in a pulsating end to the one-off Test.
A crucial 121-run stand for the sixth wicket between Gunaratne (80 not out) and Dickwella (81) secured Sri Lanka’s best-yet run chase.
Sri Lanka’s previous best was against SA in 2006, when they reached a 352-run target. The fourth-innings total against Zimbabwe was the highest in Asia and fifth-highest in Tests.
The win was a boost for new Test captain Dinesh Chandimal and eased Sri Lanka’s pain after a shock defeat in the one-day series against the minnows.
Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer claimed four wickets with his leg-spin to return overall figures of 9/275 at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Man of the match Gunaratne anchored the chase to perfection after Dickwella’s departure, putting on an unbeaten 67-run partnership with Dilruwan Perera (29 not out).
Gunaratne tackled the Zimbabwe spinners with ease during his 151-ball stay.
Dickwella, a wicketkeeper-batsman, rode his luck to reach 81 before being caught behind off left-arm spinner Sean Williams. Dickwella first survived a stumping chance from Sikandar Raza’s off-spin on 37 and was then dropped by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva on 63.
Dickwella’s reprieve from the stumping cost the visitors dearly after it was referred to the third umpire, who ruled him not out despite replays showing his toe was on the crease — a case where the batsman can be given out.