Sri Lanka openers start strongly against Zimbabwe

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Sri lankan cricket players Dimuth Karunaratne, left, and Kaushal Silva touch gloves during a test match against Zimbabwe since 2004, at Harare Sports Club in Harare, Saturday, Oct, 29, 2016. Zimbabwe is playing host to Sri Lanka in its 100th test cricket match in Harare(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE: Opener Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva batted through the morning session to give Sri Lanka a strong start to the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the tourists reached lunch on 91 without loss, with Silva unbeaten on 49 and Karunaratne on 42 not out.

The only scare for either batsman came in the second over of the day, when debutant Carl Mumba’s first delivery caught the shoulder of Karunaratne’s bat, and Sean Williams put down a one-handed chance as he back-peddled at gully.

Otherwise the openers were able to see off a disciplined first hour from the Zimbabwe bowlers, before making easy headway after drinks on a batsman-friendly surface.

Earlier, Mumba had become Zimbabwe’s 100th Test player as they marked their 100th game in the format.

Sri Lanka handed debuts to teenage fast bowler Lahiru Kumara and all-rounder Asela Gunaratne, having been forced to leave five first-choice players back home due to injury.

Regular captain Angelo Mathews and vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal were among those ruled out of the two-Test series, and so left-arm spinner Rangana Herath captained Sri Lanka for the first time at the age of 38.

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