Sikandar Raza hit his maiden Test century on Monday (July 17) to stretch Zimbabwe’s second-innings lead over Sri Lanka to 350 runs, compounding the woes of the embattled hosts on day four.
The visitors took lunch at 340 for 8 with Graeme Cremer (35), the skipper, batting alongside Donald Tiripano (8) at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Malcolm Waller (68) and Raza, who started the day on 97, were the two wickets to fall in the morning session after Zimbabwe resumed the day on 252 for 6 in the one-off Test.
Raza was bowled for 127 after attempting an audacious reverse sweep off Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner who took his overall match tally to 10 with a five-for in each innings.
Waller was the first to go, falling to Dilruwan Perera, the offspinner, after adding just 11 runs to his overnight score. His wicket ended a 144-run seventh-wicket stand.
Raza, born in Pakistan, put Zimbabwe on top after they were left tottering at 23 for 4 and 59 for 5 on the third day with Herath rattling the visitors’ top order.
Raza, 31, combined the right dose of caution and aggression to thwart the Sri Lankan bowling attack during his 205-ball stay laced with nine fours and a six.
Cremer, who got his maiden five-wicket haul in the Sri Lankan innings, took over the batting charge from Raza to frustrate the opposition bowling with some quick runs.
While Zimbabwe eye their first-ever Test win against Sri Lanka, the hosts are looking for redemption under Dinesh Chandimal, the new Test captain, after a shock loss in the one-day series.