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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Sangakkara saves Sri Lanka
First one-day international, Bulawayo
Sri Lanka 144-4 (27 overs) beat Zimbabwe 211-6 (50 overs) by 12 runs (D/L method)

Zimbabwe celebrate a wicket
There were lots of new faces in the Zimbabwe side on Tuesday

Sri Lanka scored a nervy victory in the first one-day international against a skeleton Zimbabwe outfit, captained for the first time by Tatenda Taibu.

Wicket-keeper Taibu, who also bowled four overs, hit 96 not out at number four in Zimbabwe's 211-6.

But Kumar Sangakkara's 73 not out gave Sri Lanka a win by 12 runs under Duckworth-Lewis rules when they were 144-4 from 27 overs before rain struck.

Four Zimbabweans made debuts following the Heath Streak fall-out.

A string of senior players had sided with former captain Streak to organise a boycott after a breakdown in communications with the selectors resulted in Streak being replaced by Taibu.

As a result, the strange-looking side eventually picked was expected to prove no match for Sri Lanka.

Just one white player, 18-year-old Brendan Taylor, was given a cap - and he fell early on as the home team stumbled to 1-2 after two overs.

But Taibu, Alester Maregwede and Mluleki Nkala turned it around well.

Taibu became the youngest international captain at the age of 20, and hit three consecutive boundaries off Nuwan Kulasekara to get the home team moving after their early batting problems.

Zoysa and Sangakkara
Zoysa and Sangakkara combined for the first wicket of the day

A partnership of 46 between Taibu and Dion Ebrahim put Zimbabwe on the right road, but it took some acceleration from Maregwede (37) and Nkala to get them past 200.

Nkala hit two sixes off Muttiah Muralitharan in the final over of the innings to reach 33 not out off 22 balls, he and Taibu adding 57 off the last eight overs.

Nuwan Zoysa took 3-21 in his first seven overs, but strangely was not recalled to the attack to finish his allocation.

Sri Lanka certainly did not have things all their own way when they batted.

Zimbabwe strike bowler Tinashe Panyangare celebrated his first wicket in one-day internationals when, in his first over, Sanath Jayasuriya was caught at backward point for nine.

In the following over, Douglas Hondo removed captain Marvan Atapttu for a duck to leave Sri Lanka 9-2.

Although Mahela Jayawardene and Zoysa both fell for low scores, Elton Chigumbura becoming another debutant to gain a wicket, Sangakkara finally found a supportive ally in Tillakaratne Dilshan.

The pair added an unbeaten 67 for the fifth wicket, and the tourists looked on course for their revised target of 173 from 33 overs.

So when the rains came again and the umpires called it a day, it was Sri Lanka who were awarded the win.

Zimbabwe: Tatenda Taibu (capt, wk), Dion Ebrahim, Vusi Sibanda, Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Alester Maregwede, Mluleki Nkala, Brendan Taylor, Douglas Hondo, Prosper Utseya, Tinashe Panyangara.

Sri Lanka: Marvan Atapattu (capt), Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Nuwan Kulasekara, Upul Chandana.

Umpires: Daryl Harper (Aus), Kevin Barbour (Zim).

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