Cre­mer gives Zim­babwe the edge

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Colombo, Sri Lanka – Leg-spin­ner Graeme Cre­mer spun the hosts hard and his team-mates stretched, dived and hunted balls down in the field so splen­didly that, at the end of the sec­ond day of the only Test, Zim­babwe fin­ished with a good chance of tak­ing a first-in­nings lead - Sri Lanka was seven down for 293, and still 63 runs be­hind.

Where Craig Ervine (160) held Zim­babwe's in­nings of 356 to­gether, Cre­mer (3-100) per­formed a sim­i­lar role with the ball. Thirty of Zim­babwe's 82 overs were his, and rarely did bats­men ap­pear to have his mea­sure.

Sri Lanka will rue two mini- col­lapses: the first just af­ter lunch, which cost its top three for 32 runs, and the sec­ond soon af­ter tea, in which three fur­ther wick­ets fell for 26. This, af­ter the open­ers had be­gun with such con­fi­dence. Upul Tharanga (71) was re­gal at the top, rac­ing to 26 off his first 12 balls. He and Dimuth Karunaratne (25) put on 84 for the first wicket, be­fore that first stum­ble took place.

Tharanga was only dis­missed be­cause of a lit­tle care­less­ness while back­ing up at the non-striker's end. The last wicket of the day - Dil­ruwan Perera (33) - was also a run-out.

The tide be­gan turn­ing thanks to Zim­babwe pok­ing holes in the hosts' mid­dle or­der. Bar­ring a 96-run stand for the fourth-wicket be­tween Di­nesh Chandi­mal (55) and An­gelo Mathews (41), there weren't very many con­tri­bu­tions. And as a re­sult, Sri Lanka was left re­ly­ing on Asela Gu­naratne (24 not out), strug­gling with a ham­string in­jury he picked up in the field, to take them closer to par­ity.

It had been a loose Karunaratne shot that had set Sri Lanka's first slide in mo­tion. He at­tempted to cut a ball off Don­ald Tiri­pano, and sent a thick edge to slip, where Hamil­ton Masakadza held the catch.

Then at the other end, Kusal Mendis nicked a turn­ing de­liv­ery from Cre­mer, which he per­haps did not need to play at.

Cre­mer was the pro­tag­o­nist in the next big Sri Lanka stut­ter as he had Chandi­mal caught be­hind by Regis Chak­abva.

Four overs later, an­other big turner from Cre­mer made a fur­ther dent in Sri Lanka's in­nings as he had Niroshan Dick­wella bowled. The well-set Mathews was the next to de­part. At­tempt­ing to pad­dle-sweep Sean Wil­liams against the turn, he of­fered only a top-edge to the leg­side, which Masakadza snaf­fled up with a full-length dive.

Sri Lanka was now on 238 for six but Perera and Gu­naratne be­gan to build part­ner­ship. How­ever, Zim­babwe man­aged to break it when Perera was run out to leave the hosts trail­ing at stumps.


Graeme Cre­mer (cen­tre) cel­e­brates with his team­mates af­ter dis­miss­ing Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dick­wella

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