About the Match
Cricket returns to Zimbabwe after a big gap of three years. Earlier this year, New Zealand thrashed Zimbabwe 2-0 in the test series. They now host Sri Lanka for a yet another 2-match test series to be played on 29th October 2016 at Harare Sports Club, Harare. Zimbabwe has undergone some drastic changes following their defeat against the Kiwis. This will be their 100th test which could be a big motivating factor. Sri Lanka, too, will see some major changes coming into this test. Rangana Herath will lead the national side first time in his career. They, however, are coming after winning a home series against Australia where the skipper himself was one of the star performers. Both the sides have got new looks, and it would be very interesting to see which team takes the prize in the first Test.
Heath Streak has been appointed as the head coach of the side whereas the earlier coach, Makhaya Ntini, will take care of the coaching of bowling department. Experienced spinner Graeme Cremer will lead this a little inexperienced but talented side. One of the good things going in favor of Zimbabwe is that they've played some cricket lately. The 'A' teams from South Africa and Pakistan have visited Zimbabwe and the home team's performance was decent.
The team also enjoys the services of experienced Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller and Christopher Mpofu. However, the core of the team is made up of mostly youngsters. They have good combination of youth and experience which can trouble the opposition. However, the youngsters can struggle when put under the pump which they'd have to be careful of.
Sri Lanka are coming after a major victory against the Australians which will be a big motivating factor for them. Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal will not be present in the series, but the stars of the series versus Australia, that is, Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne and Lakshan Sandakan will have to take up the responsibility. This will be a big opportunity for their young batting lineup in the absence of their main players.
Skipper Rangana Herath will once again form the mainstay of the bowling lineup and he will gather confidence from his performance in the home series against Australia. Other than Herath, there are only a few experienced names in the bowling as well as batting department. Looking at the side, they look a little inexperienced on paper, but if they can repeat even a hint of their performance against Australia, the home team will have a job at their hand.
Sri Lanka did wonderfully well against Australia whereas Zimbabwe ended up disappointed after their series against New Zealand. While both sides are pretty young at core, the visitors have performed better of late. Zimbabwe's performance against Kiwis was more of one-way traffic with the hosts being at the wrong side of it. With major changes to their side, Zimbabwe will hope for the change in their fortunes as well, but we think it is advantage Sri Lanka in the first match of the series.