Rangana Herath registered his second five-wicket haul in as many days as Sri Lanka closed in on victory in the second Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Quick Single: Herath joins Test elite with bag of five
Herath followed up his five-wicket haul in the first innings with 5 for 45 in the second as Zimbabwe, set 491 to win, went to stumps on the fourth evening on 7-180.
While Herath’s 5 for 89 on Tuesday had made him just the third bowler to take five-wicket hauls against all nine Test opponents, on Wednesday he became the first bowler to take 50 wickets in the current calendar year, having done so in just eight Tests.
"He’s bowled really well. It’s very rare to see him bowl a loose ball, which is his strength," said Sri Lanka batsman Dimuth Karunaratne.
"The wicket is two-paced and has some uneven bounce, and he’s been bowling wicket-to-wicket, which is the key."
Left with 136 overs to bat in order to save the match, Zimbabwe saw Brian Chari bowled by Herath in the eighth over of their innings, before the left-arm spinner trapped Hamilton Masakadza lbw in his next over.
After tea, Herath struck again, having Tino Mawoyo caught at slip, before Williams and Craig Ervine battled back with a 74-run stand for the fourth wicket.
The pair counter-attacked to good effect, but were eventually separated when Williams edged a delivery from Lahiru Kumara to slip to depart for 45.
Malcolm Waller fell for a duck in the very next over, before Herath snapped up two more quick wickets late in the day, completing the seventh 10-wicket match haul of his career.
The tourists began the fourth day on 4-102 in their second innings, with an overall lead of 334, and spent the first half of the day extending that advantage.
With opener Dimuth Karunaratne anchoring the innings with a patient 88 and Kusal Perera adding a quickfire 62 towards the end, Sri Lanka were able to declare their second innings on 9-258 to set Zimbabwe 491 to win.
Although they were unable to claim 20 wickets for an eighth straight Test match, Zimbabwe’s bowlers managed to slow Sri Lanka’s scoring in the first session, then picked up wickets when the visitors went on the attack after lunch.
Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer finished with figures of 4 for 91 after taking three late wickets, while fast bowler Carl Mumba took 3 for 67.
Most Test five-wicket hauls
67 - Muthiah Muralidaran (SL)
37 - Shane Warne (AUS)
36 - Richard Hadlee (NZ)
35 - Anil Kumble (IND)
29 - Glenn McGrath (AUS)
28 - Rangana Herath (SL)