Zimbabwe Select XI v Sri Lankans, Bulawayo November 12, 2008

Fernando and Mendis hurt Zimbabweans

Cricinfo staff in Bulawayo

Sri Lankans 50 for 0 (Tharanga 31*, Udawatte 17*) trail Zimbabwe Select XI 159 (Chigumbura 33, Mendis 4-59) by 109 runs

Sri Lanka began their tour of Zimbabwe in bullish fashion, dismissing a Zimbabwe Select XI for 159 on a rain-affected first day of their warm-up match in Bulawayo. Ajantha Mendis picked up four wickets and in reply, Upul Tharanga and Mahela Udawatte propelled the tourists to 50 without loss in 14 overs.

The umpires twice suspended play because of drizzle and eventually ended the day 20 minutes early due to bad light.

Zimbabwe's innings began poorly when Chamu Chibhabha steered a very wide delivery to gully, and it never gained any real momentum other than a brief seventh-wicket renaissance of 46 from Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya which lent the score a degree of respectability. They missed the experience and bravery of Tatenda Taibu, who was dropped in rather odd circumstances. Dilhara Fernando took full advantage early on, picking up two of the first four wickets to fall, including the promising Hamilton Masakadza leg-before for 26.

It wasn't long before Mendis was brought into the attack and he soon bowled Regis Chakabva to get his name on the scoreboard. When he followed that up with the wicket of Keith Dabengwa, also bowled, Zimbabwe had slipped to 90 for 6. However, Chigumbura and Utseya staved off the collapse with a vital seven-wicket stand of 46.

Aware of the situation, both players dropped anchor and gradually shovelled Zimbabwe's total past 100, but Fernando returned to have Utseya caught behind for 22 while Chigumbura - who had spent over two hours at the crease - was beaten by Mendis. Angelo Mathews mopped up a flaccid tail.

Zimbabwe squandered an early chance when Mahela Udawatte edged Christopher Mpofu but Stuart Matsikenyeri at second slip failed to hold onto a routine catch. Tharanga went on the attack and cracked five fours in his unbeaten 31 while Udawatte ended on 17 as Sri Lanka made brisk headway to reach 50 in 14 overs.

Unless the weather plays a major part, this match appears unlikely to go into a fourth day.