Craig Ervine's century gives Zimbabwe the ascendacy
By Krunal, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer
Only Test: Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe at R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, July 14 - 18, 2017, Cricket Highlights.
After the historic ODI series win, Zimbabwe faced Sri Lanka in a one-off Test match at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. While the visitors were booming with confidence, the morale of the Sri Lankan team was down after the humiliating series loss. Angelo Mathews had stepped down from the captaincy, post the defeat, and Dinesh Chandimal was made the new captain in the longer format.
On a flat looking batting surface at R.P.S, the Zimbabwean captain won the toss and elected to bat first. Hamilton Masakadza survived a few close LBW calls earlier on, on the bowling of Lahiru Kumara, which helped him to build a nice, little partnership with Regis Chakabva.
Dinesh Chandimal wasted very little time in bringing his strike bowler, Rangana Herath, into the attack and the 39-year old struck in his very first over as he cleaned up Chakabva with an arm-ball. Post his dismissal, Zimbabwe lost two more wickets in the next 5 overs and were reduced to 38/3.
Sean Williams came out to bat at no. 5 and scored a quickfire 22. Along with Craig Ervine, he built a useful 32-run partnership to bail his team out of the early trouble. Just when the partnership was looking good from Zimbabwe's point of view, Dilruwan Perera picked up the important wicket of Williams and gave the visitors another blow.
The onus to rescue Zimbabwe from a tricky situation was now on Ervine and Sikandar Raza. Raza, who played a match-winning role in the 5th ODI, came out to bat with a positive intent – he struck Herath for a six to get off the mark. Both Raza and Ervine made sure that the team don’t lose any more wicket before the Lunch interval.
If the first session belonged to Sri Lanka, the second one was shared by both the teams. While Zimbabwe, with the help of partnerships between Ervine and Raza and then between Ervine and Moor, added 117 runs in the session, Sri Lanka picked up two more wickets and had a chance to bowl Zimbabwe out for under-250. But in order to do so, they had to get past Ervine, who was standing like a wall between Zimbabwe and them.
Ervine was simply brilliant in the way he went about his business. Like we saw in the ODIs, he employed the sweeps and reverse-sweeps against the Sri Lankan spinners to really good effect. He also didn’t shy away from walking down the track to play the big shots.
At the start of the third session, Ervine was batting on 84 and by the time the day ended, he finished on 151 not out – his highest score in Tests. First Raza and then Waller, both the batsmen gave really good support to Ervine. However, it was the partnership between Ervine and Donald Tiripano, which helped Zimbabwe to finish Day 1 on a strong note. The pair, thus far, has added 62 runs for the ninth-wicket partnership and have pushed Zimbabwe’s total close to 350.
It'll be interesting to see whether Ervine, with the help of the tailenders, can help his team post a total of 400 tomorrow morning. With the pitch looking excellent for batting, it would be the kind of total that Zimbabwe would like to have under their belt.
Sri LankaSupport your team!
- Upul Tharanga
- Dimuth Karunaratne
- Kusal Mendis
- Dinesh Chandimal (c)
- Angelo Mathews
- Asela Gunaratne
- Niroshan Dickwella (wk)
- Dilruwan Perera
- Rangana Herath
- Suranga Lakmal
- Lahiru Kumara
- Regis Chakabva
- Hamilton Masakadza
- Tarisai Musakanda
- Craig Ervine
- Sean Williams
- Sikandar Raza
- Malcolm Waller
- Peter Moor (wk)
- Graeme Cremer (c)
- Chris Mpofu
- Donald Tiripano