By Sports Reporter
CAPTAIN Sean Williams’ enterprising century and equally impressive fifties from Brendan Taylor and Sikandar propelled Zimbabwe to a commanding position on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
Zimbabwe, who are seeking to level the series after losing the first match by 10 wickets put on a splendid batting display to reach close of play on day one on 352 for six after 90 overs.
Williams overcame fatigue and a wrist injury as he struck 10 fours in his score of 107 from 137 balls.
It was Williams second test ton in his Test career and his first since being appointed Zimbabwe’s captain in the longer format of the game early this month.
The Zimbabwe captain will however be dissapointed not to have batted through the opening day after gifting his wicket away late in the day when he was bowled by spinner Dhananjaya de Silva attempting a slog sweep.
Zimbabwe will resume the second day with wicketkeeper batsman Regis Chakabva unbeaten on 31 and debutant Tinotenda Mutombodzi (10 not out) as they seek to put on a formidable first innings total.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Zimbabwe initially got their innings off to a slow start before losing opener Prince Masvaure (9) and Craig Ervine (12) inside the first 20 overs.
Kevin Kasuza (38) and veteran batsman Brendan Taylor (65) restored sanity into proceedings with a 65-run stand for the third wicket.
Taylor was particularly very aggressive against the usually troublesome Sri Lankan spinners as scored a run-a-ball 62 which included 10 fours and a six.
Seamer Suranga Lakmal ended the good partnership stand after, castling Kasuza’s stumps before trapped Taylor plumb in front to give Lanka a breather.
Lakmal was the pick of the tourists’ bowlers with figures of two wickets for 31 runs.
After the dismissal of Taylor and Kasuza desperately needed another good partnership and Williams and Sikandar Raza (72) obliged with an excellent stand of 159 from 211 balls for the fifth wicket as they took the attack to the visitors.
Raza notched his fifty off just 79 balls while Williams accomplished his second Test century off 131 delivery to pile the pressure on Sri Lanka.
The partnership was eventually broken when Raza went for a big shot off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, allowing Angelo Mathews to take a diving catchat long-on.
To add insult to injury, Dhananjaya cleane bowled William as he went for a slog sweep to end the Zimbabwe skipper’s magnificent century which included 10 fours and three sixes.
After losing Raza and Williams in quick succession, Zimbabwe were in danger of getting bowled out but Chakabva (31*) and Tinotenda Mutombodzi (10*) put their heads down to ensure the hosts reached stumps without losing more wickets.