Zimbabwe let solid start slip

Agence France Presse

Bulawayo, May 14:

Dion Ebrahim produced a fighting contribution of 70 but his Zimbabwe side squandered a solid start for a total of 228 all out against Sri Lanka on the first day in the second Test here on Friday. Ebrahim figured in two partnerships of more than 50, firstly with Stuart Matsikenyeri (45)and then with captain Tatenda Taibu (27). Chaminda Vaas was the most successful Sri anka bowler with 3-41 while Muttiah Muralitharan took two tail-end wickets, stretching his Test career total to 523, and Farveez Maharoof took 2-62.

Having been 87-3 at lunch and almost doubling their total during the afternoon session for 176 for 4 at one stage Zimbabwe slipped to 184-6 at tea. Helped by Matsik-enyeri, Ebrahim made sure Zimbabwe made a better start than in the first Test, which the hosts lost by an innings and 240 runs. The new Zimbabwe side were put into bat by skipper Marvan Atapattu after winning the toss six times in succession. The decision paid off when Zimbabwe lost two early wickets, the scoreboard showing 31-2. But Matsikenyeri, who went on to make a useful 45 before being run out and Ebrahim put on 51 runs for the third wicket.

Then Ebrahim teamed up with Taibu, celebrating his 21st birthday, for a fourth wicket pairing worth 52 runs. Taibu was the third highest scorer with 27. He and Alester Maregwede (24) provided support for Ebrahim, but it was not enough to lift Zimbabwe despite these partnerships forming the basis of their defiance. Heath Streak, one of 15 rebels in dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, bought a ticket to gain entry to the ground. At Stumps, the visitors were on 18 without loss, with skipper Marvan Atapattu on seven and Sanath Jayasuriya on 11.