Sri Lanka overpower dismal Zimbabwe

HARARE, November 22, 2008 (AFP) – Two days after a senior ICC delegation turned up to assess Zimbabwe’s suitability for a return to Test cricket the country’s batsmen ruined everything by cobbling together only 67 runs in a backs-to-the-wall 31 overs against Sri Lanka here Saturday. Their dismal nine wicket defeat followed one that was barely better on Thursday in the first of the five match ODI series when Zimbabwe struggled to reach 124.

They have thus made fewer than 200 runs in two innings while the tourists have required only five completed individual innings, leaving some batsmen short of batting practice and with others getting none at all.

Home skipper Prosper Utseya won the toss and decided to bat, defying the accepted tradition at Harare Sports Club in taking the field.

It was, on the evidence of what followed, a bad move.

The Sri Lankans disdainfully knocked off the required 68 runs to win by nine wickets and go two up in the five-match ODI series.

Their score, reached just 10 balls after lunch, was 71-1 in 31 sedate and casual overs.

Zimbabwe brought in Sean Williams to bolster their middle order and he made 10 runs.

Tatenda Taibu was top scorer with 12. The Zimbabweans lost their first three wickets for 22 and it was desperat