Colombo: Zimbabwe suffered a surprise five-wicket defeat in its only tour match before the first Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday. Chamara Silva scripted the Sri Lankan Board team's victory over the tourists as he smashed a 118-ball 127 not out after a pair of sporting declarations on the third and final day.
The home team, needing 220 in 42 overs, reached 223 for five to win with four balls to spare as Silva struck one six and 15 fours in his fourth first-class century.
The host had conceded a 50-run lead after declaring its first innings closed at the overnight total of 269 for four. The tourists, preparing for the opening Test starting in Colombo on Thursday, then scored 169 for five declared for an overall lead of 219. The 22-year-old Silva kept playing shots under pressure after the hosts had been reduced to 45 for three in 10 overs.
He received valuable support from Malinga Bandara (32) and Ian Daniel (26 not out). Silva, yet to play a Test after having figured in eight One-dayers, put on 87 for the fifth wicket with Bandara and 56 for the next with Daniel, who hit two fours in his 20-ball knock. None of the Zimbabwean bowlers could contain Silva, who continued to gather runs comfortably on an easy-paced pitch.
Pacemen Gary Brent and Henry Olonga shared four wickets, but proved expensive. Brent conceded 65 in 13.2 overs and Olonga 60 in 10. Earlier, middle-order batsman Gavin Rennie scored 68 as the tourists batted 51 overs before declaring their second innings.
The left-hander held the innings together with his 137-ball knock after the dismissals of openers Hamilton Masakadza and Trevor Gripper in the first six overs. Rennie then added 37 for the third wicket with Craig Wishart (28) and 65 for the fifth with Andy Flower (25 not out) to steady the innings.