Third Test

ZIMBABWE v SRI LANKA 1994-95

At Harare, October 26, 27, 28, 30, 31. Drawn. Toss: Sri Lanka. Test debut: P. A. Strang.

Two days after Bulawayo, the teams returned to Harare Sports Club, which offered a pitch as benign as the one prepared for the First Test. This virtually ensured that the match, and the series, would end in stalemate. Neither side was going to bowl the other out twice, even without the loss of 33 overs to bad light on the fourth afternoon and 76 overs to rain on the final day. Indeed, it was the first time Sri Lanka had bowled Zimbabwe out once. But their bowlers took so long - nearly 151 overs - that the first-innings lead was only 27 and they had no chance to get the Zimbabweans in again.

Winning the toss, Arjuna Ranatunga condemned the home players to a fourth day fielding, after only one day off between Tests. Considering that Sri Lanka batted for another five hours next day, Zimbabwe spent the equivalent of almost an entire Test in the field. The Sri Lankans, who had picked seven left-handers, exploited this weariness with their most positive batting of the series: they scored at three an over for most of the first day. On the second day, Tillekeratne reached a maiden Test hundred, from 243 balls, in his 28th match, before hitting a full toss from debutant leg-spinner Paul Strang to short leg, where Dekker held a freakish one-handed catch.

When Zimbabwe finally batted, Houghton played a pugnacious innings of 142 from 268 balls, his second successive hundred and his third in Tests. His partnership of 194 in 70 overs with Campbell was a Zimbabwean all-wicket Test record until the Flowers improved on it three months later against Pakistan. Campbell almost scored his own maiden international century but was caught behind after 15 minutes on 99. He was one of seven victims for Pushpakumara, who bowled with pace and aggression to return the second-best figures in Tests for Sri Lanka, after Ravi Ratnayeke's eight for 83 against Pakistan in 1985-86. Whittall stood firm for four hours to score his first fifty at this level. Sri Lanka resumed for ten overs on the fourth day and another 14 on the fifth; Arjuna Ranatunga hit the last ball permitted by the weather, bowled by Jarvis, for six.

Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 248-4 (H. P. Tillekeratne 63*, A. Ranatunga 25*); Second day, Zimbabwe 10-1 (M. H. Dekker 5*); Third day, Zimbabwe 276-4 (D. L. Houghton 125*, G. J. Whittall 10*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 20-1 (A. P. Gurusinha 13*, S. Ranatunga 4*).

© John Wisden & Co