A fine second Test century by Sean Williams enabled Zimbabwe to dominate the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Harare on Monday, as they reached 352 for six at the close.
The Zimbabwe captain, who won the toss and chose to bat first, made 107 from 137 balls, an innings which swung between the swashbuckling, with 10 fours and three sixes, and the pragmatic.
He was well backed up by Brendan Taylor who made a run-a-ball 62 and Sikandar Raza who hit two sixes and four fours in his 72.
Looking to bounce back from last week’s 10-wicket defeat at the same venue in the first Test, Zimbabwe pressed on in the evening with Regis Chakabva on 31 and debutant Tinotenda Mutombodzi on 10.
After the early losses of Prince Masvaure and Craig Ervine, Taylor began the counter-attack, hitting 10 fours and one six over long-off from left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya in his brisk knock.
Taylor scored the lion’s share of the runs in a 65-run partnership with opener Kevin Kasuza who played in spite of being ‘substituted’ for the second innings in last week’s first Test after being hit on the head while fielding at short leg.
Kasuza batted through the morning before losing his off stump to Suranga Lakmal for 38.
Lakmal, who bowled superbly in the first Test, produced another fine delivery to remove Taylor, nipping one back to peg him leg before.
- Williams century -
Williams began swiftly galloping to 36 from just 36 balls. He slowed slightly to reach his third Test half-century and found a handy partner in Raza.
Together they added 159 for the fifth wicket as the Sri Lankans struggled to plug the gaps in the field.
The breakthrough came when Raza, on 72, miscued a pull off Embuldeniya and dollied up a catch to Angelo Mathews at long-on.
Williams went on to bring up his second Test century — his first was against New Zealand in Bulawayo four years ago — by sweeping Embuldeniya for four.
He gave it away in the next over, however, when he attempted to slog a straight ball from Dhananjaya de Silva over midwicket and was bowled.
Sri Lanka took the new ball immediately but were unable to make further inroads as Chakabva and Mutombodzi batted watchfully through to the close.
The visitors had begun the day well with Lahiru Kumara finding the edge of Masvaure’s bat for nine before Irvine nudged De Silva to short leg where Oshada Fernando snapped up a sharp catch.
Zimbabwe made two changes to the side that lost the first Test with Carl Mumba replacing the injured Kyle Jarvis and all-rounder Mutombodzi, who bowls leg-spin, coming in for his Test debut ahead of Ainsley Ndlovu.
Sri Lanka made one change with left-arm pace bowler Vishwa Fernando coming in for Kasun Rajitha.
Sri Lanka lead the two-Test series 1-0.