Sri Lankan players celebrate the dismissal of Hamilton Masakadza    AFP
Sri Lankan players celebrate the dismissal of Hamilton Masakadza AFP

Zimbabwe have ended the Day Two on a very satisfying note as they saw a Brian Chari and Craig Ervine provide an unbeaten stand of 109 runs for the third wicket. They need to carry on in the same manner as they have displayed some gritty batting quality which they have displayed in the final session of Day Two. They were a little shaky in the start against the wily spin of Rangana Herath as he was on fire after scalping two wickets in a matter of three balls. But they batted out these tough overs with sheer sincerity and were rewarded soon. Chari was being very calm at one end while Ervine was blasting off the bad as well as the good deliveries. Full Cricket Scorecard: Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test at Harare

The visitors, on the other hand, looked pale and clueless towards the closing stage of the game. They got in various bowling changes but none of them worked as both batsmen had settled in quite well. Herath did provide the breakthrough but that was it about him. He was seen bowling various short deliveries which were enabling the batsmen to free their arms and as a result of the same, he went on to concede 44 runs in his 11 overs. Almost every bowler of the Sri Lankan camp has conceded more than 4 runs per over barring a few. So the hosts need to fix this issue if they want to get back into the match as the hosts have a formidable batting line-up to come.

Earlier, Playing just his second Test, Gunaratne scored 116 to marshal the tail to good effect and frustrate the Zimbabwean bowlers, before his dismissal brought the end of the Sri Lankan innings on the stroke of tea. When Rangana Herath opened the bowling and grabbed the wickets of Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza to reduce Zimbabwe to 17 for two, the hosts looked to be embarking on one of their trademark batting collapses. But Chari and Ervine added 109 for the third wicket without being parted, taking Zimbabwe to stumps on 126 for two with both batsmen closing the day on 60 not out.

After lunch, the 30-year-old increased his rate of scoring further in a 75-run stand for the eighth wicket with captain Rangana Herath, who made 27. Seamer Donald Tiripano had Herath caught behind and then bowled Suranga Lakmal, but No. 11 Lahiru Kumara held on long enough for Gunaratne to reach three figures and carry the score past 500. It was the fifth straight Test match in which Zimbabwe, who trail 1-0 in the two-match series, had conceded 500 runs in an innings. Under pressure after two failures in the first Test, Chari not only puts up stern resistance but also took the attack to Sri Lanka.

The right-hander became the first Zimbabwean Test player to hit his first ball for six as he lofted Herath over long-on – then repeated the stroke to go to his maiden Test fifty. While Chari had two lbw decisions overturned on review, Ervine was generally untroubled as he stroked eight boundaries and the partnership rattled along at 3.7 runs per over.