Unbeaten Dhananjaya De Silva and Upul Tharanga helped Sri Lanka take command at stumps on day one in the second Test against Zimbabwe in Harare.
De Silva slammed his second Test century in only his 5th game as he reached the milestone in the penultimate over of the day pulling it to fine-leg off Christopher Mpofu in the 197th ball he faced.
After being in a spot of bother at 112 for 4, De Silva and Tharanga guided the visitors with a solid, effortless 143-run record stand for the 5th wicket.
Tharanga who was named Sri Lanka ODI captain for the upcoming tri-series continued his good form from the first Test as he stroked a steady 79 off 155 balls but became the first wicket to be reviewed successfully in Zimbabwe.
He nicked behind off Graeme Cremer but the ball deviated off keeper Moor’s leg straight to first-slip Hamilton Masakadza. On-field umpire, Simon Fry overturned his original decision as the left-hander fell at the stroke of the second new-ball.
De Silva, became the second-fastest Sri Lankan to pass the 500-run mark (9 innings) during his stylish batting master-class as he batted with complete ease against the Zimbabwe bowlers who looked good early on but found it difficult to penetrate the Lankan defenses later in the day.
De Silva stroked most of his runs through his characteristic, eye-pleasing cover-drives and the graceful flicks. Asela Gunarathne joined De Silva and held fort adding 35 unbroken runs to end on 290 for 5.
“I am feeling very good and proud. The pitch is slow and it will turn on the third or the fourth day. “ De Silva said after the first day’s play.
Earlier, both teams were unchanged from the first Test and Zimbabwe skipper Cremer surprisingly opted to bowl first. The hosts to take a wicket in the opening hour as the Lankan opening duo, Dimuth Karunarathne and Kaushal Silva added 62 at a good rate before the former slashed hard and gave a simple catch to gully off Masakadza after a confident 43-ball 26.
Kusal Janith Perera made only 4 runs as he holed out to deep long-on fielder, Carl Mumba while looking to clear the field giving Masakadza’s second wicket within 6 balls.
In the penultimate over before lunch, Kaushal Silva was trapped LBW on 37 by Christopher Mpofu. He wanted to review the decision but according to the third umpire, Silva was a second late to challenge the on-field decision. Afterwards, HawkEye clearly showed that the ball would have missed the stumps.
Kusal Mendis made 26 before becoming Zimbabwe’s sole wicket in the post-lunch session. He poked at a Donald Tiripano delivery and edged behind to put the visitors in a spot of bother at 112 for 4.