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Mumba stars with six-wicket haul before Zimbabwe batsmen falter

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Carl Mumba starred with the ball as he claimed six wickets before a poor batting performance by the Zimbabwe Development side left them struggling against their Sri Lankan counterparts, despite another fine innings from Brian Chari, at Harare Sports Club today.

The Sri Lankans resumed their first innings on 287 for five wickets in reply to the Zimbabweans’ 349, with Charith Asalanka still there with 100, and Anuk Fernando, the night-watchman, with one.

There were still seven overs to go before the second new ball could be taken, and no doubt there were thoughts that this could prove to be crucial.

Asalanka continued his watchful approach, but Fernando was more aggressive.  He did not last long, though, as he slashed at a ball from Mumba and was caught in the covers for 15; 305 for six.

Perhaps this caused Asalanka to lose the concentration that had sustained him so well for five hours, as he played loosely to Mumba in the same over and edged a catch to the keeper.

He had scored 103 off 224 balls, hitting 12 fours, and the Sri Lankans were now 306 for seven.

This brought in Akila Dananjaya, amazingly the seventh successive left-handed batsman in the Sri Lankan line-up.

But at the other end Sanjaya Chathuranga (1) slashed a catch into the slips off Luke Jongwe, and three wickets had fallen in nine balls; 306 for eight.

There followed a useful partnership between Dananjaya and Kasun Madushanka, who put on 30 together before Mumba struck again, having Dananjaya caught in the gully for 13.

He took his sixth wicket when he trapped the last man, Shehan Madushanka, lbw for one, leaving Kasun not out with 25, the third-highest score of the innings.

The total was 346, so the Zimbabweans took a narrow first-innings lead of three runs.

Mumba took six wickets for 89 runs, a fine effort and his best in first-class cricket.  He is moving closer to national selection, and appears to have put on extra pace since last season.

Victor Nyauchi bowled well to take three wickets for 48 runs, while Jongwe bagged one for 69 runs.

The Zimbabweans batted again with about 20 minutes to go before lunch.  They made a cautious start, scoring five in as many overs, with Chari on four and Charles Kunje yet to score.

After lunch the caution continued, until with the score at 19 Shehan Madushanka bowled Kunje for nine with a superb leg-stump yorker.

With Tarisai Musakanda in, runs began to come more quickly, especially from Chari, who at one stage hit successive deliveries from Fernando for four and six.

Musakanda made 24 before he tried to pull a ball from Kasun Madushanka without getting far enough across to it, and skied a catch to midwicket.

The new man, Gary Chirimuuta, fell first ball, caught at the wicket, and suddenly the Zimbabweans found themselves reduced to 76 for three.

Chari was still going strong and reached his second fifty of the match off 86 balls, while the team hundred came up in the 30th over.

Chari made 59, but was then suddenly bowled by a ball from Chathuranga that skidded through low and knocked back his off stump; 118 for four, and tea was taken, with Nyasha Mayavo on 20.

Chathuranga soon struck again after tea, beating and bowling Mayavo for 20; 119 for five, and the Zimbabweans’ innings was now in some danger.

Joylord Gumbie and Jongwe were now together.  Gumbie on 19 was dropped in the gully, when cutting, but in the same over edged to the keeper for 23; 161 for six.

At 169 Zimbabwe’s stocks dropped further as Jongwe was run out for 20.

Wellington Masakadza (4) was next to go, edging a ball from Shehan Madushanka to the keeper, while Dylan Hondo (0) struggled to put bat on ball before the same bowler knocked out his leg stump, beating him for pace; 176 for nine.

The last man, Nyauchi, was quickly bowled by Chathuranga without scoring, leaving Mumba not out seven and making the total 177.

Overall it was a poor effort, with only Chari pleasing with 59.

Shehan Madushanka and Chathuranga took three wickets each, and Kasun Madushanka two.

This left the Sri Lankans needing 181 to win, not generally a difficult task but, given the inconsistency of the visiting batsmen in their first innings, anything could happen.

Pabasara Waduge and Hashan Dumindu came in to face the opening bowling pair of Nyauchi and Mumba.

Waduge played quite positively, though Dumindu was much more defensive in outlook, until Jongwe replaced Mumba and trapped him lbw for eight, off 41 balls.

Waduge finished the day with 22, and the team score 38 for one.

Victory is by no means assured after their batting collapses in their first innings, but they must go into the final day as favourites to win.

Mini Scorecard:

Zimbabwe Development – 349 and 177 all out in 54.2 overs (Brian Chari 59, Tarisai Musakanda 24; Shehan Madushanka 3/25, Sanjaya Chathuranga 3/50, Kasun Madushanka 2/33)

Sri Lanka Development – 346 and 38 for 1 in 11 overs (Pabasara Waduge 22*, Hashan Dumindu 8; Luke Jongwe 1/3)