Solid Zim­babwe strike back

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

An un­bro­ken cen­tury stand be­tween Brian Chari and Craig Ervine gave Zim­babwe a solid start af­ter Asela Gu­naratne’s maiden Test hun­dred had car­ried Sri Lanka to 504 on the sec­ond day of the sec­ond Test at Harare Sports Club yes­ter­day.

Play­ing just his sec­ond Test, Gu­naratne scored 116 to mar­shal the tail to good ef­fect and frus­trate the Zim­bab­wean bowlers, be­fore his dis­missal brought the end of the Sri Lankan in­nings on the stroke of tea. When Ran­gana Herath opened the bowl­ing and grabbed the wick­ets of Tino Ma­woyo and Hamil­ton Masakadza to re­duce Zim­babwe to 17 for two, the hosts looked to be em­bark­ing on one of their trade­mark bat­ting col­lapses. But Chari and Ervine added 109 for the third wicket with­out be­ing parted, tak­ing Zim­babwe to stumps on 126 for two with both bats­men clos­ing the day on 60 not out.

“We would have liked to have a few more wick­ets down but hope­fully we can grab a few early on to­mor­row,” said Sri Lanka coach Gra­ham Ford. “We’ve seen Ran­gana turn some de­liv­er­ies this evening, so once he gets a few go­ing he be­comes more of a fac­tor.”

The tourists be­gan the day on 290 for five, with Gu­naratne on 13, and de­spite los­ing cen­tu­rion Dhanan­jaya de Silva they were able to make rapid progress dur­ing the morn­ing ses­sion.

De Silva was caught and bowled by leg-spin­ner Graeme Cre­mer for 127, be­fore Gu­naratne added 54 for the sev­enth wicket with Dil­ruwan Per­era at a swift rate.

Per­era was then trapped lbw by Cre­mer for 34, but Gu­naratne went to lunch on 64 hav­ing helped Sri Lanka add 124 runs in the ses­sion. Af­ter lunch the 30-year-old in­creased his rate of scor­ing fur­ther in a 75-run stand for the eighth wicket with captain Ran­gana Herath, who made 27. Seamer Don­ald Tiri­pano had Herath caught be­hind and then bowled Su­ranga Lak­mal, but No. 11 Lahiru Ku­mara held on long enough for Gu­naratne to reach three fig­ures and carry the score past 500.

It was the fifth straight Test match in which Zim­babwe, who trail 1-0 in the two-match se­ries, had con­ceded 500 runs in an in­nings. Un­der pres­sure af­ter two failures in the first Test, Chari not only put up stern re­sis­tance, but also took the at­tack to Sri Lanka. The right-han­der be­came the first Zim­bab­wean Test player to hit his first ball for six as he lofted Herath over long-on - then re­peated the stroke to go to his maiden Test fifty.

While Chari had two lbw de­ci­sions over­turned on re­view, Ervine was gen­er­ally un­trou­bled as he stroked eight bound­aries and the part­ner­ship rat­tled along at 3.7 runs per over. “It was an in­di­vid­ual plan to be more pos­i­tive in the way that we got our­selves in,” said Ervine.

“We need to turn up for that first hour to­mor­row, and then the first ses­sion, and try and get through with­out los­ing a wicket.”

— AP

HARARE: Zim­bab­wean bats­man Brian Chari, left, and Craig Ervine make a quick run dur­ing the match be­tween Zim­babwe and Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club in Harare, yes­ter­day.

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