SL trails Zimbabwe by 316 at stumps on day 2 of 1st test

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Zimbabwe Sri Lanka Cricket

Zimbabwe batsman Sikandar Raza walks off the pitch after been dismissed during test cricket match against Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club, Monday, Jan,20, 2020.Zimbabwe is playing in its first international match since the International Cricket Council lifted the country's ban last year(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Sri Lanka reached 42-1 in response to Zimbabwe's first-innings total of 359 to trail the hosts by 316 runs at stumps on the second day of the first test on Monday.

The home side started the day on 189-2, with Craig Ervine adding 30 runs to his overnight tally to finish as the top scorer for the hosts with 85.

Zimbabwe got its innings off to a solid start with openers — debutant Kevin Kasuza (63) and his partner Prince Masvaure (55) — putting on a 96-run stand for the first wicket.

On a track that didn’t offer much to the bowlers, Zimbabwe had anticipated a much bigger score at Harare Sports Club. But the home side lost momentum after losing three key wickets cheaply before lunch time, while leg-spinner Lasith Embuldeniya was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka with 5-114.

“I had to bowl a consistent line to get wickets and put pressure on the batsmen,” said Embuldeniya.

First to exit for Zimbabwe was Brendan Taylor (21), trapped lbw by fast bowler Suranga Lakmal (3-53).

Captain Sean Williams (18) was next after edging a bouncing Embuldeniya delivery into the hands of wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.

Ervine’s well-played 187-ball innings ended after chipping a Lakmal delivery onto the stumps to put Sri Lanka on top for the first time in the test.

Only Sikandar Raza, who also succumbed to the Embuldeniya-Dickwella combination for 41, and No. 8 Donald Tiripano (44 not out) offered significant contributions for Zimbabwe thereafter as the hosts were bowled out for 358.

“The middle order actually failed us in this innings, guys got in and guys got out,” said Zimbabwe skipper Williams.

“That was the difference between 400, 450, which was what ... I would have liked on that wicket," he added. "I asked for discipline, I asked for good decisions, and that didn’t happen. We are moving forward in the right direction though, which is good to see.

"But again, it’s the cheap wickets that keep happening. I’m going to be blunt on that one. Regis got a terrible shot, Raza was another one; a player of that calibre to run down the wicket and give his wicket away on 40, it’s not good enough in my standards.”

In response, Sri Lanka started steadily before losing Oshada Fernando. The opener was dismissed off an in-swinging Donald Tiripano delivery that uprooted the middle stump.