Raza spins Zim into lead

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ZIMBABWE all-rounder Sikandar Raza took six wickets on day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka to leave the hosts with a strong chance of winning the match with a 175 runs lead and nine wickets in hand going into the penultimate day this morning.So special was Raza’s performance that his figures of 7-113 runs in 43 overs now makes him second on the list of best bowling figures in a single Test by a Zimbabwean.
Paul Strang’s 8-109 against New Zealand in 2000 at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo remains the leading bowling spell on that list.
Sri Lanka resumed on their overnight score of 122 for two looking at shaving off Zimbabwe’s lead but the host’s bowlers maintained their discipline in the first session.
Kusal Mendis was the first wicket to fall for 22 runs after he pulled a Raza offbreak which hit Kevin Kasuza’s helmet and flew to Carl Mumba at square leg.
It was a bitter sweet moment for Zimbabwe as Kasuza had to be stretchered off for a mild concussion, the second time the batsman has had to be stretchered in this series.
Dinesh Chandimal only lasted nine balls for his six runs before he chipped the ball back to Raza and at 142-4 the visitors needed a big partnership to stay in the match.
Angelo Mathews and Dhanjaya de Silva duly obliged sharing a fifth-wicket stand worth 84 runs and just as it was threatening to get bigger, Raza waved his magic wand before lunch to bowl De Silva for 42 runs.
Raza was not finished yet and just after lunch, he got his fifth wicket after the dangerous Niroshan Dickwella tried to sweep a fuller delivery but completely missed it to be given out lbw.
The raucous home crowd erupted into frenzy as Raza ran the length of the field followed by his team mates as they celebrated his latest milestone.
Suranga Lakmal became Raza’s sixth victim when he chipped one to Tino Mutombodzi at mid-on and the islanders were fast losing the plot.
The Chevrons turned the screws further when Carl Mumba got the big wicket of the first Test double centurion Mathews, who was brilliantly caught behind by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva.
Sri Lanka tail added 48 runs for the last two wickets but were eventually bowled out for 293 runs giving Zimbabwe a first innings lead of 113 runs.
With Timycen Maruma replacing Kasuza, Zimbabwe had to rejig their batting line up as they came in to try and extend the lead.
This meant opener Prince Masvaure had a new partner in Craig Ervine as Zimbabwe closed the fourth day on 65 for one.
Masvaure and Chakabva were unbeaten on 26 and 14 runs respectively after Ervine (13) was caught behind by Dickwella off Vishwa Fernando.

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