Masvaure half cenury helps Zimbabwe to solid start against Sri Lanka

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HARARE (AFP) – Prince Masvaure struck his maiden Test fifty while opening partner Kevin Kasuza approached a half-century on debut as Zimbabwe reached 108 for 1 at tea on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Harare.

Masvaure, playing in his third Test, made 55 before he was caught by Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne off the slow left-arm bowling of Lasith Embuldeniya.

Kasuza was unbeaten on 48 following the afternoon session, having survived a dropped chance after he miscued a hook off Suranga Lakmal.

Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams elected to bat first despite overcast skies at the Harare Sports Club, where the African nation are playing their first home Test since 2017.

The hosts handed debuts to three players — opening batsman Kasuza, left-arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu and seam bowler Victor Nyauchi — in their first Test match in 14 months.

Fast bowler Lakmal returned for Sri Lanka, having missed the entire Pakistan series, while Angelo Mathews was also included in an experienced side.

The two-Test tour was only announced by the Sri Lankan cricket board earlier this week.

Zimbabwe were readmitted as an ICC member last October following a three-month suspension over political interference.

The Sri Lanka games represent their first Tests since a 1-1 series draw in Bangladesh in November 2018.

Zimbabwe last played a Test at home against the West Indies in October 2017.