An unbeaten century from Dhananjaya de Silva put Sri Lanka in control of the second and final Test against Zimbabwe after a fluctuating first day at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
De Silva came to the wicket with Sri Lanka struggling on 112 for 4 after it had lost the toss and been asked to bat but showed greater application than Sri Lanka’s top order as he hit his second Test century in just his fifth match.
De Silva, the right-hand batsman, added a crucial 143 for the fifth wicket with Upul Tharanga before finishing unbeaten on 100, as the visiting side closed the day on 290 for 5.
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl first on a pitch boasting a tinge of green, but had a mixed first hour with the ball.
Carl Mumba, the fast bowler, limped off the field after the first over, and Chris Mpofu and Donald Tiripano, the other two seamers, were wayward in their opening spells as Sri Lanka progressed to 62 without loss.
The breakthrough came from an unlikely source, as Hamilton Masakadza, the part-time medium pacer, made an early entry to the attack and Dimuth Karunaratne guided an innocuous delivery straight to gully to depart for 26.
Masakadza then struck in his next over when Kusal Perera’s decision to attack the seamer from the start of his innings backfired horribly, as he holed out to long-on.
Mumba was able to return to the field soon after, but it was fellow fast bowler Mpofu who struck before lunch when he trapped Kaushal Silva lbw for 37. With the Decision Review System making its Zimbabwe debut, Silva asked for a review, but he took too long to do so and his request was denied.
Sri Lanka went to lunch on 105/3 and was in trouble soon after the interval when Kusal Mendis edged Tiripano behind to depart for 26.
At 112 for 4, Sri Lanka was under pressure for the first time in the series but Tharanga and de Silva were unperturbed.
The pair was content to take a patient approach as the pitch flattened out and Zimbabwe tightened up its bowling, seeing Sri Lanka through to tea on 187 for 4.
Tharanga fell for 79 in the final session, as he became the first player to be given out on review in Zimbabwe, with the third umpire determining that he had edged a delivery from Graeme Cremer, the legspinner.
But de Silva reached three figures shortly before the close of play and was accompanied to stumps by Asela Gunaratne, who was unbeaten on 13.
– African News Agency (ANA)