Cre­mer hits maiden ton but Sri Lanka dom­i­nate

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

HARARE:

Graeme Cre­mer struck his maiden Test cen­tury but the Zim­babwe cap­tain’s gritty knock could not pre­vent his side from clos­ing day three of the first Test against Sri Lanka with a heavy deficit. Cre­mer, who ar­rived at the crease in Harare with Zim­babwe 139 for six in re­ply to Sri Lanka’s 537 and fac­ing the prospect of fol­low­ing on, hit 102 not out to drag the home side to 373 all out.

By the close of play yes­ter­day, Sri Lanka had reached five with­out loss in their sec­ond in­nings to lead by 169.

Cre­mer’s pre­vi­ous high­est score in Test cricket was 43, but he showed his bats­men what was pos­si­ble with a bit of ap­pli­ca­tion as he bat­ted for over four hours.

Zim­babwe’s col­lapse in the morn­ing had owed more to a series of rash strokes than try­ing con­di­tions or out­stand­ing bowl­ing. They re­sumed on a promis­ing 88 for one, but soon saw opener Tino Ma­woyo pull a short ball from Suranga Lak­mal straight to deep mid­wicket to de­part for 45, and two overs later Hamil­ton Masakadza prod­ded for­ward to edge Lak­mal to slip for 33.

Sean Wil­liams then picked out the man in the deep with a care­less sweep, be­fore Craig Ervine and Mal­colm Waller were trapped lbw by Dil­ruwan Perera. At 139 for six Zim­babwe were in dan­ger of be­ing shot out, but Peter Moor’s counter-at­tack­ing knock changed the mo­men­tum of the in­nings. His two early sixes forced the field back, while Cre­mer was con­tent to pro­vide dogged sup­port from the other end. “I think we bat quite well to­gether be­cause PJ plays some big shots and keeps the score­board tick­ing, and I know that I can block out a maiden if I need to and just get off strike,” said Cre­mer.

“So that helps me a lot, know­ing there’s some­one on the other end scor­ing.” Moor went on to score a ca­reer-best 79 in a 132-run stand with Cre­mer which only ended when Lahiru Ku­mara pro­duced a fear­some bouncer that Moor fended to slip.

Ku­mara went on to knock Cre­mer’s hel­met off his head and rat­tle the Zim­babwe skip­per, who was then for­tu­nate to see a hook shot off Ku­mara dropped at deep back­ward square-leg with his score on 58. Cre­mer went on to add 92 for the eighth wicket with Don­ald Tiri­pano as Zim­babwe’s tail con­tin­ued to wag, but nearly ran out of part­ners on 99 when the ninth wicket went down.

Zim­babwe’s fi­nal bats­man Chris Mpofu man­aged to hold off Ran­gana Herath to give Cre­mer his chance, and the 30-year-old duly went to three fig­ures to cap an im­pres­sive feat for a bats­man who av­er­aged 10.75 prior to the Test. “I hadn’t got 50 be­fore in Test cricket and I don’t even have a five-for yet, so it was quite spe­cial,” said Cre­mer.

“When I got to 75, I started think­ing, ‘There’s a chance here.’ Then I thought I might run out of part­ners. It was an awe­some feel­ing to get that one run to get to a hun­dred.” — AFP

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