Top order seals draw for Zimbabweans
Zimbabwe Select XI 159 (Mendis 4-59, Fernando 3-19) and 238 for 5 (Masakadza 72, Matsikenyeri 71, Chibhabha 59, Mendis 4-86) drew with Sri Lankans 567 for 4 dec (Sangakkara 174, Kapugedera 150, Tharanga 88, Udawatte 55, Kandamby 55*, Utseya 3-133)
Half-centuries from Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri ensured the four-day contest between Zimbabwe Select XI and the Sri Lankans ended in a draw at the Queens Sport Club in Bulawayo. After rain made only 38 overs possible on the third day, a wet outfield delayed the start by an hour on Saturday. The Sri Lankans opted to push for a result, declaring their first innings at 567 for 4 - a commanding lead of 408.
Their opening bowlers, though, failed to make early inroads, and it was only wickets from Ajantha Mendis that kept the visitors interested. Mendis took his second four-wicket haul of the game, and the only other bowler to take a wicket in Zimbabwe's much-improved second innings performance was allrounder Angelo Mathews.
Zimbabwe folded for 159 on the first day, but the signs were positive from the start as openers Timycen Maruma and Chibhabha played out 17.5 overs before Mendis struck his first blow. Maruma was caught behind for 16. Chibhabha fell in the same manner 19 balls later; he scored 59 off 70 balls with nine fours. Masakadza and Matsikenyeri then put on a 132-run stand.
However, they failed to convert the fifties into centuries; both departed having made 70s. Matsikenyeri was out for 71, caught and bowled by Mathews, and wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva was dismissed for a duck by Mendis the next over. Masakadza's 72 ended in the 60th over, and one over later play was called off.
The Sri Lankans will play Zimbabwe A in a one-day game on Monday, before the five-ODI series in Harare, which starts on November 20.