Herath caps series sweep with 13-for
- Sports, Published on: Friday 11th November 16 - 9:42am
It took Sri Lanka a little over 50 minutes to wrap up proceedings on the final day in Harare. Resuming on 180 for 7, Zimbabwe folded for 233 to give Sri Lanka a 257-run win. Rangana Herath, in his first and perhaps last series as Sri Lanka captain - he was standing in for the injured Angelo Mathews - celebrated a 2-0 series win with his seventh ten-wicket haul in Tests. His match figures of 13 for 152 took his series tally to 19 wickets.
Craig Ervine, who made a battling half-century on the fourth day, stood between Sri Lanka and an early finish. In the first six overs, he seemed keen on playing according to the merit of the ball. But the frustration of being unable to get runs - Zimbabwe had just one scoring shot in the first 23 minutes - resulted in him gloving an audacious reverse sweep from the rough off Herath to Dhananjaya de Silva at slip.
Dhananjaya, who was initially moving to his right in anticipation of the sweep going a lot squarer, changed directions and dived low to complete an excellent two-handed catch. Ervine referred the decision, but it was eventually upheld as there was sufficient evidence of the ball brushing the glove before hitting his forearm. Off the first ball of his next over, Herath had Carl Mumba with an arm ball that drifted back in to trap him in front.
Christopher Mpofu came out playing shots. A slog sweep over deep midwicket off Herath even had the dressing room in splits as he acknowledged the applause by raising his bat. He swung at everything thereafter, but the party did not last much longer as Herath's slider came back in to beat his forward push and trap him lbw.
This was Sri Lanka's fifth successive Test win - they swept Australia 3-0 at home prior to this series - to equal their second-longest winning streak in Tests. Their longest is nine, which they achieved in 2000-2001.
Sri Lanka 504 (De Silva 127, Gunaratne 116) and 258 for 9 dec (Karunaratne 88, Kusal Perera 62, Cremer 4-91, Mumba 3-67) beat Zimbabwe 272 (Chari 80, Ervine 64, Herath 5-89) and 233 (Ervine 72, Herath 8-63) by 257 runs