Zimbabwe good in reply after Sri Lanka puts up 537

Sri Lanka batsman Upul Tharanga raises his bat in celebration of his century during the second day's play in the first Test match between Sri Lanka and hosts Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club, on October 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai Njikizana

Ten years after scoring his maiden Test century, Upul Tharanga got his second as Sri Lanka did most of the running in the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on the second day.

Tharanga’s first century had come against Bangladesh in March 2006, and his 110 not out on Sunday (October 30) helped Sri Lanka finish on 537. Having dropped seven catches in the field, Zimbabwe managed to fight back well with the bat and go to stumps on 88 for 1 in reply.

Brian Chari fell in Rangana Herath’s first over, but Tinotenda Mawoyo reached the close on 41, with Hamilton Masakadza on 33.

Tharanga had not played a Test in more than a year and was not picked in Sri Lanka’s initial squad, but got the chance when Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, the regular captain and vice-captain, were ruled out of the tour because of injuries.

On the first day, Kusal Perera had cashed in on two dropped catches to score 110, and Tharanga enjoyed similar fortune on the second day. Tharanga started the day on 13 with Sri Lanka on 317 for 4, and earned a reprieve on 66 when he chipped Donald Tiripano to short mid-wicket, where Mawoyo put down the chance.

Asela Gunaratne, the all-rounder, marked his Test debut by scoring 54 in a 99-run stand for the sixth wicket with Tharanga, but Zimbabwe stuck to its task and managed to bowl an opposition out for the first time in three Tests.

Zimbabwe looked shaky with the bat when Herath introduced himself in just the sixth over and dismissed Chari, but Masakadza got through a nervy start to share an unbroken 67-run stand with Mawoyo to give the home side hope of a spirited performance.

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