HARARE: Off-spinner Sikandar Raza grabbed career-best figures of 7-113 as Zimbabwe took control of the second and final test against Sri Lanka at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday, but for the second match running the home side suffered a concussion scare.
Zimbabwe are 62 for one in their second innings at the close of the third day, a lead of 175 with nine wickets remaining, after Raza helped them bowl the visitors out for 293 on a pitch that is offering plenty of assistance to the spinners.
Prince Masvaure (26 not out) and nightwatchman Regis Chakabva (14 not out) will resume on day four, with makeshift opener Craig Ervine (13) the one wicket to fall.
Ervine was pushed to the top of the order after regular opener Kevin Kasuza had to be stretchered off the field when he was hit flush on the helmet while fielding at short leg and was taken to hospital with a concussion.
It is the second test in a row that Kasuza has been concussed fielding in that position and allows Zimbabwe to use the International Cricket Council’s new concussion protocols to bring another batsman into the side.
Timycen Maruma has been drafted into the line-up, with his only previous test against Bangladesh in April 2013.
Sri Lanka had resumed the third day on 122 for two, but added only 12 runs before Kusal Mendis (22) crashed the ball into the helmet of the helpless Kasuza and was caught at square leg by Carl Mumba.
Angelo Mathews (64) and Dhananjaya de Silva (42) put on 84 for the sixth wicket, before the latter was caught and bowled by Raza.
The prized wicket of Mathews, who scored an unbeaten double-century in the first test, was claimed by Mumba as he got a tickle to a ball down the leg-side and was caught by wicketkeeper Chakabva with the score on 244.
All-rounder Raza’s figures beat the 5-99 he managed against the West Indies in Bulawayo in 2017.
Zimbabwe will want to bat quickly on the fourth day to build a sizeable lead as they attempt to square the series, having lost the first test at the same venue by 10 wickets.