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Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Day 2 Review: Brian Chari and Craig Ervine ensure stability after Lankans post a huge total

Asela Gunaratne
Asela Gunaratne smiles during the second day of the second cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and hosts Zimbabwe. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Opener Brian Chari and experienced Craig Ervine played sensible innings in the last session to rescue Zimbabwe from a sticky 17/2 batting reply to Sri Lanka’s mammoth first innings total of 504 runs. After being made to bowl till the session, Zimbabwe finally was able to wrap up Sri Lanka by tea session and came out to bat.

It was a nervous start for the hosts after Chari gave a turbo charged start, welcoming Rangana Herath with a six off the first ball in the 2nd over. His audacity made Herath’s decision to experiment with the new ball did seem good for that moment. However, the Lankan applied instant pressure. In the following over Lakmal almost trapped Chari LBW after umpire Fry agreed with the bowler’s appeal. However, with the DRS in place, the decision was overturned after replays showed the in-dipper was bouncing over the stumps.

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The Zimbabwean weren’t’ that lucky, however as Herath struck in the third over not once but twice – snapping Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza – in the space of three balls. The other opener Mawoyo was pinned right in front of the stumps by arm ball while Masakadza attempt to defend a sharp turner from the left spinner ended in him gifting a catch straight into the hands of Silva. Troubles didn’t end here as an over later Chari was again in danger. Herath was back again after the double-wicket over and trapped him Leg before. But, Chari was unconvinced and went for a DRS to overturn the decision in favour him.

But the 8th over was the last time Zimbabweans had anything to be nervous about. Chari was joined by Ervine and together the duo knitted an unbeaten 111 run stand for the 3rd wicket and lift Zimbabwe from the bothersome situation. The duo didn’t go straightway on the top but gave no chance to the Lankan bowlers. Herath did not bowl a prolonged spell with the new ball and employed the young Lahiru Kumara from one end with Lakmal. The pacers could make any difference.

The hosts had a cautious approach and stayed away from committing any silly mistake. There wasn’t much turn and Dilruwan Perera could not much impact on the proceedings. Chari and Ervine both completed their respective fifties as the Zimbabwe went past the 100 run mark with ease. Rangana Herath brought himself back into the attack but the duo denied the veteran left-arm spinner any late breakthrough.

Earlier, Sri Lanka ballooned their overnight score of 290/3 to a commanding 504 riding on Asela Gunawardena’s maiden Test ton. De Silva, who ended unbeaten at 100, batted for a brief amount of the time in the first session before departing for 127. His overnight batting partner Gunaratne was well set by then and carried forward the inning comfortable. Rangana Herath (27) and Dilruwan Perera (34) made their contributions and stitched small but important stands with Gunaratne.

Things began bit nervous for the youngster after Zimbabwean began to clean up his batting partner. He was sitting at 91 after batting smoothly by the time the last man, Lahiru Kumara, who made a golden duck on debut last week, came in. Fortunately, luck did not play any rude games as Gunaratne manoeuvred with Kumara reached his century before becoming the last man to depart.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka 504 all out (Dhananjaya de Silva 127; Donald Tiripano 3/90)

Zimbabwe 126/2 (Craig Ervine 60; Rangana Herath 2/44)

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