HEAVY rain and bad light in the afternoon frustrated Zimbabwe’s push to build a match-winning position on the fourth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Harare on Thursday.
A downpour mid-afternoon forced the players off the field and, although they returned briefly after tea, only 54 overs were bowled in the day, restricting Zimbabwe to 241 for seven at the close, an overall lead of 354.
The Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams, who made a century in the first innings, was 47 not out when bad light forced the players off and must now decide whether to declare overnight to give his bowlers a full day to try and win the match and square the two-Test series.
Brendan Taylor set the tone for the home side during the morning session when he made his second half-century of the match. The 33-year-old struck a rapid 67 as the hosts added 117 during an extended morning session.
Lasith Embuldeniya was again the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers, striking in the third over of the day when Regis Chakabva edged to Dhananjaya de Silva at slip having added just a single to his overnight 14.
Taylor joined Prince Masvaure who was run out for 35 after a needless mix-up over a second run and in spite of a dramatic dive for safety.
Timycen Maruma, who was drafted in as a ‘concussion substitute’ for Kevin Kasuza who was stretchered off on Wednesday after being hit on the head at short leg, scratched around for 14 balls before being stumped off Embuldeniya for a duck.
At the other end Taylor had picked up quickly from his run-a-ball 62 in the first innings, passing 2,000 runs in Test cricket on his way to 67 from 75 balls.
His innings, which included eight fours and a six, ended when he was on the wrong end of an lbw shout from Lahru Kumara, the ball looking certain to slide down the leg side.
Sikander Raza added 70 with Williams for the sixth wicket before also departing leg before, this time to a ball from left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando that appeared to pitch outside leg stump.
In the brief 26-ball passage of play in the evening session Tinotenda Mutombodzi stepped too far away to off to give himself room and lost his leg stump to Suranga Lakmal.
Williams played serenely for his 47 which came off 76 balls and included six fours. – AFP