Cre­mer’s strikes rat­tle Sri Lanka on Day 2

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Zim­babwe skip­per Graeme Cre­mer claimed three wick­ets to dent Sri Lanka’s first in­nings re­ply on the sec­ond day of the one-off Test in Colombo yes­ter­day. Cre­mer’s leg-spin and two cru­cial run outs left Sri Lanka reel­ing at 293-7 at stumps. Asela Gu­naratne (24) and Ran­gana Herath (5) were at the crease with the hosts still trail­ing Zim­babwe by 63 runs.

Gu­naratne, who came down the bat­ting or­der at num­ber eight af­ter sus­tain­ing a ham­string in­jury while field­ing, put up sturdy re­sistence in the fi­nal few overs of the day. “The wicket has got drier and the legspin­ner (Cre­mer) is tak­ing lot of turn. We have to bat well and we need to make sure that we get to 350,” said Herath, who had taken five wick­ets to help dis­miss Zim­babwe for 356. “We had a good start, but they fought back well. We are still be­hind by 63 runs and we need to knock off that deficit,” Herath told re­porters. Zim­babwe coach Heath Streak be­lieves the vis­i­tors are in a “nice po­si­tion”, adding that any­thing be­tween 250 and 280 would be a tough fourth-in­nings chase on this pitch.

“Any sort of lead is go­ing to be very valu­able on this track. It’s go­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing day’s play to­mor­row. Hope­fully we can pick up those wick­ets quickly,” Streak said. Top Sri Lankan 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. Dil­ruwan Per­era, who made a gritty 33 with 2 fours and as many sixes, was run out af­ter he­si­tat­ing on a sin­gle with his ham­strung part­ner Gu­naratne. 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 fell short of his crease while back­ing up to a straight drive by Chandi­mal as the ball grazed past the fin­gers of pace­man Don­ald Tiri­pano. Tiri­pano’s lucky field­ing ef­fort came af­ter he got Zim­babwe’s first break­through in Dimuth Karunaratne (25) in his first over af­ter lunch, end­ing an 84-run open­ing part­ner­ship. Ear­lier the Zim­babwe in­nings lasted just 4.4 overs of the morn­ing ses­sion, adding only 12 runs to their overnight score. Bats­man Craig Ervine top­scored with 160. Left-arm spin­ner Herath re­turned with an im­pres­sive 5-116, his 30th five-wicket haul in 81 Tests. — AFP

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