Spin demons strike Zim

Sri Lanka 504 (De Silva 127, Gunaratne 116) and 258 for 9 dec (Karunaratne 88, Kusal Perera 62, Cremer 4-91, Mumba 3-67) beat Zimbabwe 272 (Chari 80, Ervine 64, Herath 5-89) and 233 (Ervine 72, Herath 8-63) by 257 runs

By Kevin Mapasure

The Zimbabwe national cricket team batsmen endured some hard lessons, especially on how to face spin, with Rangana Herath dominating with the ball for Sri Lanka to take 13 wickets which helped condemn the hosts to a 257-run defeat in the second Test which ended at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

Sri Lanka completed a series clean sweep, having won the first Test by 225 runs at the same venue.

Unlike in the first Test, Zimbabwe never looked like forcing a result other than a defeat, and were on the backfoot from day one to the morning of day five when their second innings was brought to an end with Herath’s three wickets.

The stand-in skipper picked 8 for 63 and Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer admitted they had fallen to some exceptional bowling.

But he was happy that they had managed to play five days in the second Test, a feat they also achieved in the first.

“We’re happy they’ve gone five days, and there were a lot of positives for us,” said Cremer.

“But a lot of the mistakes we made at crucial times, like dropping silly catches, changed the games in a huge way. We need to improve on that.”

If there are any positives to take from this performance it would be the bowling, particularly that of Carl Mumba, playing only his second Test.

He only took three wickets in the Test match but he provided some glimpses into a bright future, troubling the Sri Lankan batsmen with his pace.

Cremer continued to lead from the front, taking a total of seven wickets in the match.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers shipped 504 runs in the first innings of the final Test but came back strong in the second where they restricted the tourists to 258, ensuring that the match did not get out of their reach too quickly.

But it is the batting that might have concerned coach Heath Streak in his first series as the head of the technical department.

He asked his batsmen to be aggressive and play with a positive mindset striving to win rather than aiming to limit the damage.

The biggest disappointment in that department in this Test was Hamilton Masakadza, the most experienced in the pack, who managed just ten runs in the two innings.

Tino Mawoyo, on the other hand, produced far too little in terms of runs with 18 for the match while Waller will also be displeased with his own performance with a duck and 18.

Craig Ervine had the best figures in the second Test with scores of 64 and 72 in the second innings where he fought a lone battle as Zimbabwe crumbled for 233.

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