STAND-IN captain Kumar Sangakkara and Chamara Kapugedera both smashed centuries as Sri Lanka yesterday ruthlessly seized control of their tour-opening four-day match against Zimbabwe Select at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Sangakkara, who is leading the Sri Lankans in the absence of rested skipper Mahela Jayawardene, was the most punishing in a delightful innings, but as fatigue took over, he swung wildly in the last overs of the day to be bowled and caught by Elton Chigumbura on 174. Kapugedera was unbeaten on 117. The pair produced a 287-run third wicket partnership.
The Sri Lankans then closed on 450 for three at stumps on Day 2 in response to Zimbabwe’s measily 159 first-innings total, a lead of 291 runs.
The Zimbabweans had earlier been bowled out for 159 on the first day on Wednesday.Â All-rounder Elton Chigumbura put up a lone fight with 33 runs before chief destroyer, versatile spin bowler Ajantha Mendis, took his wicket with Kapugedera taking the catch.
Hamilton Masakadza (26) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (25) were the other noteworthy scorers.
Mendis, the ICC Emerging Player of the Year, hauled four wickets. Mendis, world cricket’s new spin sensation, has proved difficult to face to many batsmen because he can bowl the off-break, leg-break, googly, flipper and straight delivery in the same over. Right-arm seamers Dilhara Fernando and Angelo Matthews took three and two wickets, respectively.
Ace off-spinner Muttiah Muraritharan is sitting out the unofficial “Test”.
And when the Sri Lankans batted the Zimbabwe pace bowlers lacked penetration and precision, although Chris Mpofu was put down twice in the slips. It took captain and off-spinner Prosper Utseya to get the breakthrough when he removed both openers, Upul Tharanga for 88, and Mahela Udawatte for 55. But Sangakarra and Kapugedera restored the dominance, batting through until Sangakarra’s dismissal by Chigumbura. – Staff Writer.
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