Harare: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 on 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 desperately uphill from there.
Ajantha Mendis took four for 16 in six overs while Farveez Maharoof captured three for 26 in eight.
Sri Lanka almost polished off Zimbabwe even before lunch.
They were just 16 runs short of victory when the umpires decided to take the break despite Upul Tharanga and Kuma Sangakkara, who were at the crease, wanting to deliver the coup de grace.
However, the two umpires Aleem Dar and Kevin Barbour chose bureaucracy and hunger over an even earlier conclusion to the match. In doing so they only just avoided a gathering rainstorm as the players resumed the field.
The two Sri Lanka batsmen made 29 and 26 respectively after Sri Lanka lost an early wicket.
The ICC visit, made by chief executive Haroon Lorgat and West Indies board president Dr. Julian Hunte, will surely have to produce a negative report after this despite the cricket website "cricinfo" predicting a whitewash.
Zimbabwe certainly appear no nearer Test cricket since it was obliged to withdraw from the five-day game more than four years ago when Sri Lanka, followed by England and Australia, refused to play Tests against them.
Several senior Zimbabwe players had been lost at the time following acrimonious allegations of racism and financial mismanagement. Several are now prominent in other countries.
The third ODI will be at Harare on Monday.