Cricket: Zimbabwe foiled by Ranatunga

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The Independent Online
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . .462-9 dec Sri Lanka. . . . . . . . . . . . .218 and 193-4 Match drawn Sanjeeva Ranatunga yesterday scored his second century in successive Tests as Sri Lanka thwarted Zimbabwe's hopes of their first win in Test cricket in Bulawayo. Beginning the final day on 30 for 2, 214 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat, Sri Lanka defended stubbornly, losing only two more wickets while adding 163 runs in a full day's play.

Ranatunga, who scored his maiden Test century in the opening match of the series last week, reached 100 off the final delivery of the game as Sri Lanka closed on 193 for 4. His 352-ball century included 15 boundaries and lasted for two minutes over seven hours.

It was a disappointing end for Zimbabwe, looking for their first win in nine Tests, after scoring 462 for 9 declared in their first innings, and although they used eight bowlers, none was able to make the breakthrough on a flat, unhelpful pitch.

Only one wicket was picked up in the first two sessions, that of the nightwatchman, Kumar Dharmasena, caught behind by the wicketkeeper, Wayne James, for 18 shortly before lunch. Dharmasena had given Ranatunga good support in a third-wicket stand of 50 in 24 overs before providing James with his seventh catch of the match.

Ranatunga and the vice-captain, Aravinda de Silva, then combined in a slow but determined fourth-wicket partnership of 84 in 65 overs which lasted until after tea. De Silva crawled to 27 from 191 balls after almost four hours at the crease and was finally bowled by the off-spinner, Stephen Peall, attempting to cut off the back foot, but by that stage enough had been done to avoid defeat.

(Zimbabwe won toss: Final day) ZIMBABWE - First Innings 462 for 9 dec (D L Houghton 266, A Flower 50; C Vaas 4-85).

SRI LANKA - First Innings 218 (A P Gurusinha 63, H P D K Dharmasena 54).

SRI LANKA - Second Innings (Overnight: 30 for 2) * R S Mahanama c A Flower b Streak. . . . . . . . .4 A P Gurusinha c James b Jarvis. . . . . . . . . . 10 S Ranatunga not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 H P D K Dharmasena c James b Whitta. . . . . . . .18 P A De Silva b Peall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 H P Tillakaratne not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Extras (b5 lb6 nb4 w4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Total (for 4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Fall: 1-4 2-30 3-80 4-164.

Did not bat: A Ranatunga, P B Dissanayake, M Muralitharan, G P Wickramasinghe, C Vaas.

Bowling: Streak 14-4-28-1; Rennie 21-10- 39-0; Whittal 17-7-29-1; Jarvis 24-14-24-1; Peall 26-10-43-1; G Flower 5-2-13-0; Dekker 6-3-5-0; Campbell 2-1-1-0.

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