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KANDY, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka completed its seventh successive Test victory with a day to spare when it defeated Zimbabwe by an innings and 94 runs to win the second Test in mid-afternoon of the fourth day on Monday.

Zimbabwe, trailing from the first innings by 269 runs, was dismissed in the second innings for 175 with off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan adding a further four wickets to his first innings haul of nine to finish the match with 13 for 115 runs.

His magnificent performance earned him the man-of-the-match award and gave Sri Lanka a winning 2-0 series lead.

Zimbabwe scored 236 in the first innings to which Sri Lanka replied with 505.

Although Muralitharan, with an injured bowling hand, took four wickets, it was 21-year-old right-arm fast-medium bowler Buddhika Fernando who gave Sri Lanka the breakthrough in Monday’s morning session when he took the vital wickets of Andy Flower and top scorer Gavin Rennie (68).

Fernando finished with his best figures in Test cricket — four for 27.

On a pitch which did not assist the quick bowlers, Fernando followed his new ball partner Chaminda Vaas by taking his wickets bowling reverse swing.

The third and final Test starts at Galle on January 12.

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