Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka: Ervine back in familiar routine for host

Craig Ervine's unbeaten half century helps Zimbabwe to the best of the opening day of its first Test against Sri Lanka in Harare on Sunday.

Craig Ervine hit three sixes on his way to an unbeaten half century.   -  Getty Images

Craig Ervine demonstrated his liking for Sri Lankan bowling as he helped Zimbabwe enjoy the best of day one in Harare, where a two-Test series got under way on Sunday.

The 34-year-old achieved his highest Test score against the Sri Lankans in Colombo back in July 2017, when his 160 in the first innings was overshadowed by a sensational run chase by the host.

In that high-tempo match, Sri Lanka was set 388 for victory and reached the target with four wickets in hand, but this was very different Test cricket, with a pedestrian run rate seeing Zimbabwe take baby steps to 189-2 in 84 overs.

This was the home side's first Test action since November 2018, and a first at home since a year previous to that.

Openers Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza made 55 and 63 respectively to set a solid platform, their stand of 96 spanning 50.1 overs, with left-hander Ervine stepping up the pace slightly on his way to 55 not out by stumps, striking three sixes along the way.

The trio claimed a slice of history - it was the first time Zimbabwe's top three have all scored fifties in the same innings of a Test.

Ervine was unbeaten alongside Brendan Taylor (13 not out) at the end of the day.

Sri Lanka is looking for a lift after losing in Pakistan last month, while Zimbabwe is impeded in this series by the loss of paceman Tendai Chatara to a bicep injury.

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