Zimbabwe slide rapidly on third morning

Lunch Zimbabwe 174 for 6 (Moor 25*, Cremer 10*) trail Sri Lanka 537 (Tharanga 110*, Perera 110) by 363 runs
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Tino Mawoyo’s problems with the short ball continued on the third morning © AFP

Sri Lanka would have been pleasantly surprised with the conditions that greeted them on the third morning. After the Harare surface offered nothing to seam or spin on the first two days, it started to behave indifferently. Variable bounce, pace and enough lateral movement for the seamers helped Sri Lanka run through Zimbabwe’s middle order to leave them placed at 174 for 6 at lunch, still 164 behind their first target of avoiding the follow-on.

Overnight batsmen Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza began the day with staunch defense, even with low bounce evident from the second ball of the morning. Mawoyo was uncertain against the short ball on the second evening, and Suranga Lakmal exploited that weakness by repeatedly employing the bouncer. Some flew off the surface, some looped to the keeper.

In the fifth over of the day, a bouncer hustled Mawoyo for pace and an attempted pull resulted in a top-edge, which was taken by square leg placed halfway to the boundary.

In his next over, Lakmal pushed his length much fuller, inviting drives against deliveries that were moving both ways. Like on the second evening, Masakadza flirted with one such delivery and a thick outside edge was taken at first slip.

Sean Williams and Craig Ervine, Zimbabwe’s best batsmen, were visibly disconcerted by the bounce and chose to sweep Rangana Herath. Both batsmen struck boundaries with the sweep but the stroke was always fraught with risk on this pitch. Williams attempted a hard sweep off Herath but the ball bounced extra and took the leading edge, which settled in the hands of deep square leg. Zimbabwe lost their third wicket inside 12 overs, the second off a top edge.

More to follow..

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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