Test Cricket returned to Zimbabwe after more than 2 years as the home team took on Sri Lanka in a 2-match series at the Harare Sports Club ground. The opening day of the first Test was all about Zimbabwean batsmen as they piled up 189 runs for the loss of just 2 wickets after winning the toss.
Playing an XI with 5 changes to the one which played a Test for the last time in 2018 in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe had handed 3 Test debuts to opener Kevin Kasuza, fast bowler Victor Nyauchi and spinner Ainsley Ndlovu.
Sri Lanka will meet Zimbabwe in a 2-match Test series, becoming the first country to play an international……
The inexperienced opening pair of Kasuza and returning batsman Prince Masvaure, who last played a Test in 2016, started cautiously seeing off the disciplined opening spell from the Lankans. Suranga Lakmal returning to the team after missing the Pakistan series due to illness started decently along with Kasun Rajitha. However, the stubborn resistance from the home batsmen gave away no chance to the tourists.
Sri Lanka’s lone spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who was picked ahead of experienced Dilruwan Perera had to be introduced early in the 10th over to try and break the solid-looking opening stand. Lahiru Kumara’s express pace too was well navigated by the two batsmen as they finished the first session for 62 for no loss after 27 overs.
Sri Lanka then came out with a plan to dry up the runs and executed it pretty well as they eventually ended dismissing Masvaure in the 51st over for 55 off a miscued shot. However, Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne fielding at mid-off caused himself a minor injury as he hung on to the half-chance created by Embuldeniya and was off the park temporarily.
Debutant Kasuza went on to reach a well-constructed half-century on debut in the final session with Craig Ervine on the other end trying to up the scoring rate. Ervine took on the spinners and all-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva in particular, as he added some life to the Zimbabwe innings.
Zimbabwe’s best batsman Brendan Taylor joined Ervine to end the day on a high following Kasuza’s dismissal for 63 off a fiery full toss off Kumara. Ervine unbeaten on 55 will resume Zimbabwe’s innings tomorrow along with Taylor as the tourists will be looking forward to better luck on day 2 after a less than ideal opening day.