By Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe’s off-spinning all-rounder Sikandar Raza took 7 Sri Lanka wickets, the second-best innings return by any bowler in Zimbabwe’s Test match history, at Harare Sports Club today, as the national team turned in a fine performance to lead the tourists by 113 runs on the first innings.
The Zimbabwe batsmen scored another 62 runs for the loss of one wicket by the close, putting them in a potentially strong position after three days.
Raza, who bowled 43 overs altogether (the last 26 without a break), took 7 wickets for 113 runs.
Only Paul Strang against New Zealand in 2000/01, with eight for 109, has better figures for Zimbabwe in Test cricket.
Mumba, Tiripano and Nyauchi took one wicket each, with Tiripano the unsung hero with 24 overs for only 30 runs.
Zimbabwe had a lead of 113 on the first innings, and the tea interval was taken at this point.
With Kasuza injured and a decision awaited on his injury, Craig Ervine opened the innings with Masvaure against the bowling of Lakmal and the off-spinner de Silva.
Masvaure began in superb style by driving the first ball of the innings, from Lakmal, straight past the bowler for four.
Masvaure continued to surprise those used to his dogged methods by driving de Silva over wide long-off for six in the fourth over.
Ervine was more sedate and the pair batted well together, but all the time the sky was becoming cloudier and rain clouds could be seen to the south over the city.
The opening pair put on 32 before Ervine (13) drove at Fernando and edged a catch to the keeper.
Chakabva was promoted to number three, but as the light deteriorated the batsmen found it a bit harder to sight the ball.
Fortunately for a while the light improved and the rain moved away, only to return just after 4.40 pm with the score at 62 for one, Masvaure on 26 and Chakabva 14.
That ended play for the day, with Zimbabwe in the happy position of being 175 runs ahead with nine wickets still in hand.
It is a very encouraging position, but the weather could have the final say in this match.