Suranga Lakmal’s early final-day burst set Sri Lankaon its way to a 10-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first Test at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe resumed on 30 without loss on the last day of a slow-moving match, trailing by 127 after Sri Lanka racked up 515-5 declared.
The outstanding Lakmal (4-27) set the nerves jangling by taking three early wickets before Zimbabwe collapsed from 120-3 to 170 all out.
That left Sri Lanka requiring only 14 to win in the final hour and it needed just three overs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, captain Dimuth Karunaratne hitting the winning run.
The tourist had failed to make inroads in 17 overs after Karunaratne declared in the final session on day four, but Lakmal came steaming in to give it just the start it had hoped for on Thursday.
The paceman had Prince Masvaure (17) caught behind off the eighth ball of the day and removed Brian Mudzinganyama (16) in his next over before Craig Ervine (7) became his third victim, caught by Karunaratne at short leg.
Brendan Taylor (38) and captain Sean Williams put on 79 for the fourth wicket, seeing off 22 overs before the former became a pumped up Lakmal’s fourth victim.
Zimbabwe was reeling on 152-6 at tea with Williams (39) and Sikandar Raza (17) gone and it folded in the final session, Lahiru Kumara coming to the fore by taking 3-32.
Karunaratne made 10 not out and Oshada Fernando was unbeaten on four when his skipper got Sri Lanka over the line. (Courtesy Sportstar)