Dimuth Karunaratne scored 86 at Lunch    AFP
Dimuth Karunaratne scored 86 at Lunch AFP

Dimuth Karunaratne closed in on a second century in as many Tests as Sri Lanka s lead passed 400 on the fourth morning of the second Test at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday. Although Zimbabwe s bowlers were able to restrict the Sri Lankan scoring in a slow session, Karunaratne s unbeaten 86 took his side to lunch on 177 for five, giving them an overall lead of 409. Sri Lanka began the penultimate day of the series, which they lead 1-0, on 102 for four and found the going tough early on. Fast bowler Chris Mpofu started his day with six straight maidens, and the tourists scored just 33 runs in 15 overs before the drinks break. Live Cricket Scorecard: Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test at Harare

Donald Tiripano then broke a 69-run stand for the fifth wicket when he trapped Asela Gunaratne lbw for 39, but Karunaratne was immovable and was joined by wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera, who went to lunch on 10 not out. Sri Lanka s Rangana Herath became just the third bowler in history to take five-wicket hauls against all nine Test opponents, before Zimbabwe fought back on day three of the third Test Herath recorded figures of 5 for 89 — his first five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe — to bowl the home side out for 272 and give Sri Lanka a 232-run lead in the first innings.

But after the tourists opted not to enforce the follow-on, fast bowler Carl Mumba picked up three wickets as Sri Lanka slumped to 84 for four in their second innings. With opener Dimuth Karunaratne scoring an unbeaten 54 — his third fifty-plus score in four innings — Sri Lanka went to stumps on 102 for four, giving them an overall lead of 334. Although Herath had come into the series with 26 five-wicket hauls in his career, he had never played against Zimbabwe in a 17-year career.

On Tuesday he joined countryman Muttiah Muralitharan and South Africa s Dale Steyn among an elite group of bowlers with five-wicket hauls against all of the other nine Test-playing nations. Herath picked up his third and fourth wickets as Sri Lanka chipped away at the Zimbabwean batting lineup on the third morning of the second Test. After Lakmal had grabbed the wicket of overnight batsman Craig Ervine in the eighth over of the day, Herath bowled opener Brian Chari for a career-best 80 and then had Malcolm Waller caught at cover for 18 on the stroke of lunch. ALSO READ: ZIM vs SL, 2nd Test: Rangana Herath joins Muttiah Muralitharan, Dale Steyn

Those dismissals left Zimbabwe struggling on 210 for five in reply to Sri Lanka s 504 all out, with Sean Williams doing his best to resist the tourists on 40 not out. Herath had picked up both of the wickets to fall on the second evening, dismissing Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza as Zimbabwe slumped to 17 for two. However Chari and Ervine took Zimbabwe to stumps on a sturdy 126 for two, and made a patient start to the third morning before Lakmal got one to move off the seam and catch the edge of Ervine s bat, removing the left-hander for 64.

Although Waller made a positive start to his knock, with lunch in sight he pushed at a Herath delivery and found Kaushal Silva in the covers, leaving Zimbabwe trailing by 294 runs with just five wickets in hand and giving Herath figures of 4 for 69.

Brief Scores:

Zimbabwe 272 (Brian Chari 80, Craig Ervine 64, Sean Williams 58, Peter Moor 33; Suranga Lakmal 2 for 55, Rangana Herath 5 for 89) trail Sri Lanka 504 (Upul Tharanga 79, Dhananjaya de Silva 127, Asela Gunaratne 116; Donald Tiripano 3 for 91, Hamilton Masakadza 2 for 34) & 248 for 8 (Dimuth Karunaratne 86, Kusal Perera 10*; Carl Mumba 3 for 67, Graeme Cremer 3 for 91) by 409 runs