The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE make a return to the Test cricket arena when they face Sri Lanka in the first five-day contest which gets underway at Harare Sports Club this morning.
The Chevrons last played the longer version of the game in November 2018 when they faced Bangladesh in Dhaka. It has been a long wait for the Zimbabwean players who today put on their white clothing and green hats to face off against Sri Lanka.
With Hamilton Masakadza, the Zimbabwean captain the last time they played Test cricket having retired and his opening partner at the time, Brian Chari not having made the final squad, Zimbabwe are certain to have new openers against Sri Lanka. Prince Masvaure, with two Test caps against New Zealand has done decent enough opening for Rhinos in the Logan Cup looks certain to take first strike for Zimbabwe with Kevin Kasuza who should make his debut.
Masvaure and Kasuza should lay a decent foundation for Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, captain Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza who are all certain to complete Zimbabwe’s batting line up.
Kyle Jarvis is sure to be the go-to guy with the new ball which he should share with Donald Tiripano while Carl Mumba, back from a knee operation is expected to make a return to Test cricket against the same opponents he made his debut against at the same venue in 2016.
Should Zimbabwe opt for four seamers, then this will leave Charlton Tshuma and Victor Nyauchi to fight for that one slot. Tshuma has the edge having picked up 13 wickets for Rangers in three matches, with best figures of four for 28 runs against Eagles. Nyauchi has taken 10 wickets for Mountaineers in three matches, with a best of four for 59 against Rangers early this month.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Under-19 suffered a heavy defeat when they went down by nine wickets to Bangladesh on Duckworth — Lewis — Stern method in their rain affected opening fixture at the International Cricket Council Under-19 Cricket World Cup played at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
Zimbabwe stumbled after losing the toss and were sent in to bat as they were on 137-6 in 28,1 overs when rain forced the players off the field. Tadiwanashe Marumani top scored with 31, Milton Shumba contributed 28 while wicket-keeper Dane Schadendorf made 22 out.
When play resumed, Bangladesh had to get 130 runs in 22 overs, something they did with ease, scoring 132 for the loss of one wicket in 11,2 overs. Skipper Dion Myers picked up the only Bangladesh wicket, that of left hander Tanzid Hasan who departed for 32 runs.
Next up for the Prosper Utseya coached Zimbabwe is a clash with Pakistan at the Witrand Oval on Wednesday before they square off with Scotland at the same venue on Saturday.
Zimbabwe final squad for Sri Lanka Tests: Sikandar Butt, Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Kevin Kasuza, Timycen Maruma, Prince Masvaure, Brian Mudzinganyama, Carl Mumba, Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Charlton Tshuma, Sean Williams (captain)