The Zimbabwe national cricket team failed to replicate their day two performance with the bat on day three yesterday, with Sri Lanka tightening their grip on the second Test at Harare Sports Club. By Kevin Mapasure
Sri Lanka 504 and 102 for 4 (Karunaratne 53*, Gunaratne 6*, Mumba 3-31) lead Zimbabwe 272 (Chari 80, Ervine 64, Williams 58, Herath 5-89) by 334 runs
Having resumed on an overnight score of 126-2. Zimbabwe could only add 146 more runs before they were bowled out for 272, 232 runs shy of Sri Lanka’s imposing first innings score of 504.
Sri Lanka began their second innings shortly before tea and at stumps, Zimbabwe had some success, taking four wickets in the last session, where they conceded 104, runs, as the tourists built a lead.
At the close of the day, Sri Lanka’s lead was 334 with six wickets still intact and two more days to play.
Seamer, Carl Mumba troubled the visitors with his pace and took out Kaushal Silva (6), Kusal Mendis (0) and Dhananjana Silva (9), while skipper, Graeme Cremer trapped Upula Tharanga leg before for 16.
Mumba first removed Kaushal Silva caught Malcolm Waller with just 14 runs on the board and, two runs later Mendis soon returned to the changing rooms.
Cremer got in among the wickets, removing Tharanga to reduce Sri Lanka to 44 for 3 and Zimbabwe had their tails up again.
Zimbabwe’s work with the ball ensured that this Test match remained alive and they will look to build on that, even though they face an uphill task to win it.
It is their batting, however, that may have them worried, when they conducted their post-mortem of the day in the evening.
Having built a solid base on day two at 126 for 2, a lot was expected of them yesterday, even though a Sri Lankan backlash was also not unexpected.
Ervine only added four runs to his overnight score before he perished at the combination of Suranga Lakmal and Dimuth Karunaratne, who completed the catch.
Thirty-nine runs had been added to Zimbabwe’s score and Chari had scored 20 runs on the day to add to his 60 runs night before his wicket fell.
It took captain, Rangana Herath, who took a fiver in this innings, to rid the tourists of Chari, whose stumps he rearranged.
Sean Williams scored a 93-ball 58, before he became one of Dilruwan Perera’s three victims with Peter Moor (33) and Cremer (3) also falling prey.