On a slow-moving opening day, Zimbabwe went to stumps at 189 for 2 against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Harare on Sunday (January 19). Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza and Craig Ervine scored half-centuries to frustrate the visitors as they toiled away in front of the partisan crowd.
Zimbabwe opted to bat first and then saw openers - Kasuza and Masvaure - score 96 for the first wicket to give the side a steady start. In the first session, the duo returned unbeaten with 62 on the board as they weathered slow periods but refused to throw away their wickets. Kasuza was struck on the helmet by Lahiru Kumara but gritted it out and faced 214 balls during his knock of 63. The debutant, however, was dropped when he was on 30 in the second session.
Masvaure, playing his second Test, picked up five runs from the first over and opened his account with a flick for a boundary. The next 11 overs though saw only 13 more runs being scored. There wasn't much in the first session as Masvaure steadily moved to 42 before the Lunch break.
Masvaure got to his half-century off 122 balls in the 40th over but fell soon after to left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya. Trying to be adventurous he tried to hit the bowler over mid-off but was caught by Dimuth Karunaratne as Sri Lanka finally managed to breakthrough after going wicketless in the first 50 overs. Zimbabwe went to Tea at 108 for 1 with just 46 runs being scored in the second session with 30 overs bowled.
Kasuza got to his maiden half-century in the 60th over - off 178 balls - as he collaborated with Ervine to add 68 for the second wicket. Lahiru, who was a touch expensive in the first session, bagged the second wicket of the day when he trapped Kasuza in front in the 76th over. Sri Lanka took the new ball immediately but failed to strike again. Both Suranga Lakmal and Kasun Rajitha had an economy of less than two and did well to keep things in check.
Ervine was batting on 55 in a 25-run stand with Breandan Taylor when the stumps were drawn early due to bad light.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 189/2 (Kevin Kasuza 63, Craig Ervine 55*, Prince Masvaure 55) vs Sri Lanka. (cricbuzz.com)