Cremer’s Strikes, Careless Run Outs, Give Zimbabwe The Edge

  • Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe – One-off Test

Cremer celebrates a wicket with team mates

Three crucial wickets by Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer and some careless batting by Sri Lanka ensured that Zimbabwe had a slight edge over their opponents after an absorbing second day’s play in their one-off Test in Colombo on Saturday.

Responding to Zimbabwe’s first innings of 356, the hosts had reached a patchy 293 for 7 at stumps – still 63 runs adrift of achieving parity in the first innings. At the crease were Asela Gunaratne (24) and Rangana Herath (5) the last recognized batsmen who have added 19 together.

Gunaratne, who came in to bat at number eight after sustaining a hamstring injury while fielding, put up sturdy resistance in the final few overs of the day.

With the exception of opener Upul Tharanga all the top order batsmen faltered against Cremer’s wily wrist spinners including captain Dinesh Chandimal falling to his opposite number after a well-made 55.

Chandimal’s wicket ended a 96-run stand for the fourth wicket with Angelo Mathews (41), who quit the captaincy this week after Sri Lanka’s loss in the one-day series against Zimbabwe.

Cremer, who had got Kusal Mendis caught behind for 11 before tea, struck twice in the final session of play to put the hosts in trouble at 238-6. Mathews did not help his side’s cause when after doing all the hard work he attempted a paddle sweep against the accurate Sean Williams and Mazakadza running around from slip to fine leg completed his second incredible catch of the innings.

Dilruwan Perera, who made a gritty 33 with two fours and two sixes, then ran himself out after hesitating on a single with his hamstrung partner Gunaratne to leave Sri Lanka on 274 for 7.

Another unlucky run out early in the innings saw the back of opening batsman Upul Tharanga, who gave Sri Lanka a solid start with his brisk 71. Tharanga was stranded just short of his crease while backing up when a powerful straight drive by Chandimal grazed past the fingers of paceman Donald Tiripano before cannoning into the stumps at the bowler’s end. Tharanga had looked in sublime touch and had dominated an opening partnership of 84 with Dimuth Karunaratne (25).

Tiripano’s lucky fielding effort came after he got Zimbabwe’s first breakthrough in his first over after lunch when Karunaratne’s attempted drive was brilliantly held by Mazakadza in the slips ending an 84-run opening partnership. The batsman’s wild slash was flying over the slips when Mazakadza took a two-handed catch above his head as he tumbled backwards.

Earlier the Zimbabwe innings lasted just 4.4 overs of the morning session as they were bowled out for 356 after resuming at 344 for 8. Overnight batsman Craig Ervine top-scored with 160 but was able to add only nine runs to his overnight 151 before he was the last man dismissed.

Left-arm spinner Herath returned with an impressive 5-116, his 30th five-wicket haul in 81 Tests.


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