Trailing Sri Lanka 1-nil in the 2-match Test series, Zimbabwe made a positive 352 for 6 in the first innings of the must win second test having won the toss and elected to bat at the Harare Sports Club grounds on Monday. Skipper Sean Williams led the way with a 137-ball 107. Having been outfoxed by the Sri Lankans in the first test, Zimbabwe recovered from the early setback of 49 for 2 after the Sri Lankan bowlers got on top claiming the early wickets of Prince Masyaure for 4 caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella off Lahiru Kumara with the total on 21 and Craig Ervine who was dismissed by Dhananjaya de Silva to a catch by Oshada Fernando for 12 off the fourth ball of the 20th over.
Given the poor start, full marks to the Zimbabweans who resisted Sri Lanka’s thrust to take control of the match from that point. Kevin Kasuza and Brendon Taylor posted 65 for the third wicket as Zimbabwe recovered to 114 for 3 when the host team’s first innings tormentor came back to clean bowl Kasuza for a sedate 97-ball 38 with 4 boundaries. Taylor added a further 19 runs with Williams as the former’s run a ball 62-run innings packed with 10 boundaries and a six was ended by Lakmal for his second wicket when he trapped the batsman leg before wicket.
Then skipper Williams, who unleashed 10 boundaries and 3 sixes in a praiseworthy captain’s knock, was associated in a 159-run fifth wicket alliance with Sikandar Raza who made 72 off 99 balls containing 4 boundaries and 2 sixes. Zimbabwe’s recovery from the poor start was highlighted by the urgency for runs which was showcased by particularly targeting off spinner Lasith Embldeniya who was hoisted for two sixes by Williams while Lahiru Kumara was also struck for a six by Raza. Embuldeniya went for some stick conceding 153 runs for 1 wicket off 30 overs. However, Sri Lanka did come back strongly in the final session claiming the wicket of Williams when Dhananjaya de Silva bowled him to end his 208 minute innings to claim his second wicket in compensating for conceding 67 runs from14 overs. At the wickets were Chakabva on 31 off 57 with 3 boundaries and Mutombodzi on 10.
Zimbabwe 1st Innings 352/6 (90 Overs) Run rate: 3.91
(S.C. Williams 107, S. Raza 72, B.R.M. Taylor 62, K.T. Kasuza 38, R.W. Chakabva n.o. 31, Mutombodzi n.o. 10, R.A.S. Lakmal 2/31, D.M. de Silva 2/67, L. Embuldeniya 1/153, C.B.R.L.S. Kumara 1/46)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-