Matthews double ton gives Sri Lanka edge

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

Zimbabwe 358 & 30/0 * (17 ov), Sri Lanka
515/9d. Zimbabwe trail by 127 runs with 10 wickets remaining
Veteran batsman Angelo Matthews starred with the bat for visiting Sri Lanka after he struck an unbeaten double ton to give his side an edge over hosts Zimbabwe on the fourth day of their first Test at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

Sri Lanka managed to post a huge first innings total which saw them declare on 515 for the loss of nine wickets, with a 157 run lead.

The hosts, dismissed for 358 in their first innings, were 30 without loss at stumps and reduced Sri Lanka’s lead to 127.

But the star of the day was Matthews who began the day on 92 and went on to reach 200 in the last session of the day which prompted the team to declare after posting a plus 500 total.

Matthews has been struggling for runs in recent months and could only manage a high score of 30 runs in the two-match Test series against Pakistan last month.

The all-rounder, who has 84 Tests under his belt, spent 10 hours on the crease and reached the milestone in 468 balls.

For Zimbabwe, it was Sikandar Raza who was the most successful bowler on a wicket that gave little and nothing at all.

Raza had a chance for a hattrick when he accounted for Suranga Lakmal (27) and Lasith Embuldeniya (0) in successive balls late in the Sri Lanka innings.

Having earlier claimed the big wicket of Niroshan Dickwella (63), leg before wicket, Raza finished with figures of 3 for 62.

Sri Lanka began the day trailing the hosts by 63 runs and were pegged back in the first session when debutant Victor Nyauchi got the wicket of Dhananjaya de Silva early on.

His replacement Dickwella went on to share a sixth wicket partnership of 136 runs with Matthews.

Nyauchi finished impressive bowling figures of three for 69 in his first Test innings while captain Sean William managed two for 104.

After an unfortunate incident in which opener Kevin Kasuza was hit by as ball on the head while fielding he had to be replaced by another debutant Brian Mudzinganyama.

Mudzinganyama (15) opened the batting with Prince Masvaure (9) as Zimbabwe began their second innings and both batsmen managed to preserve their wickets at stumps.

Zimbabwe will be looking to bat the whole day today as they seek to save the tie while Sri Lanka are hoping that the hosts capitulate in the chase to give them an unlikely victory.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Under-19 side crushed out of the ICC World Cup after losing to Pakistan by 38 runs at the Witrand Oval, Potchefstroom yesterday in their second game at the tournament.

Pakistan ensured their qualification to Super League quarter-finals while Zimbabwe will now compete in the Plate League as they can no longer finish among the top two teams in Group C.

Zimbabwe lost to Bangladesh by nine wickets in their first match and are scheduled to play Scotland in their final group match on Saturday.

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