Ervine, Chari entertain on day two

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Zimbabwe 126 for 2 (Chari 60*, Ervine 60*, Herath 2-44) trail Sri Lanka 504 (Dhananjaya 127, Gunaratne 116, Tiripano 3-91) by 378 runs

BRIAN Chari and Craig Ervine both hit unbeaten half centuries as Zimbabwe punched back after Sri Lanka posted 504 in the first innings of their second and final Test match on day two at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

BY KEVIN MAPASURE

Coach Heath Streak promised that local fans would see more aggressive cricket from the national team, and true to that both Ervine and Chari batted positively and bravely after the imposing first innings total by the tourists.

They did not shy away from the possibility of being skirtled quickly for a low score, but batted with the intention of eating away from Sri Lanka’s total quickly and constructed a 98-run third-wicket stand.

At stumps they were both at 60 not out with Zimbabwe’s score on 126 for 2 having lost opener Tino Mawoyo (3) and Hamilton Masakadza, who was dismissed for a two-ball duck.

Chari showed intent from the first ball he faced when he heaved it high and over the boundary for a maximum.

He lost two partners, with Mawoyo getting trapped lbw, while Masakadza was caught at slip, but never looked like being defensive as he attacked the Sri Lanka bowlers, among them skipper Rangana Herath, who took the two wickets.

Chari reached his half century in 72 balls after hitting five fours and two sixes and soon Ervine also raised his bat having used up 71 balls with seven fours featuring in his total.

The Zimbabwe fans would not be oblivious to the fact that Sri Lanka, whose overnight lead was 378, are well on top, but it is the positive attitude and the desire to win that might have impressed them the most.

All the excitement for Zimbabwe came after a day of hard labour in the field as the home side struggled to bowl out the tourists.

Sri Lanka started the day on 290 for 5 and they managed to add 218 runs before they were bowled out. Asela Gunaratne reached triple figures before he became the last man to fall for Sri Lanka finishing on 116 runs.

Dilwan Perera and Herath were also stubborn with 34 and 27. Donald Tiripano and captain Graeme Cremer finished with three wickets each.