Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Only Test, Colombo, 2nd day July 15, 2017

'Lead will be a bonus' - Streak

Zimbabwe are eyeing an opportunity to take a first-innings lead thanks to their captain Graeme Cremer's work © AFP

Concurring with Rangana Herath that batting will be tough in the fourth innings, Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak said his side would aim to have Sri Lanka chasing 200 at a minimum. With the hosts still 63 runs behind, Zimbabwe have a rare chance to take a first-innings lead.

"I'd like to get 400 runs in front, but I don't think that's going to happen," Streak said. "Anything over 200 to 250 runs is going to be really tough on the fourth and fifth days. Between 250 and 280 would be a really competitive target. But first we've got to get out the two batsmen at the crease at the moment [Asela Gunaratne and Rangana Herath]. They can both bat."

Pulling ahead in an away Test has been difficult for Zimbabwe in recent times. Since 2000, over a spell of 28 matches, they have earned a first-innings lead only four times - once in the West Indies and thrice in Bangladesh. Streak was hopeful of adding Colombo to that list.

"It's going to be a really interesting day's play tomorrow," he said. "Hopefully, we can pick up those last few wickets quickly, and if we do get a lead, that will be a bonus. Then it's going to be an exciting few days."

Zimbabwe's strong position has partly been delivered by their captain Graeme Cremer, who took 3 for 100 from 30 overs. He has turned the ball more than any other spinner in the match and produced two outstanding deliveries to dismiss Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis.

"There are times where we just let things drift a little bit, but all in all I am very happy." Streak said. "Cremer was outstanding today. He bowled some really dangerous balls and could easily have a five-for already. It's nice to be in the position we are in, but its only two hard days and there's lots more in the Test match if we are going to give ourselves a chance to challenge Sri Lanka."

Zimbabwe have lost 12 Tests and have never won a match against Sri Lanka. The most recent of those defeats came in October and November last year, when Sri Lanka dominated both matches. The series victory in the ODIs, however, has instilled new belief among the tourists.

"We are making history on the tour so we would change that as well," Streak said. "It's about backing positive options - something we really encouraged the guys to do on this tour. We know we have to do that again. With Rangana and the other spinners, it's going to be hard work."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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  • Siddharth on July 15, 2017, 20:33 GMT

    Cremer bowls some right trash but at times he bowls these unplayable jaffas. If he could just maintain some consistency he would be a serious threat in 2nd innings

  • tichao2147390 on July 15, 2017, 20:25 GMT

    Vitori the left arm seamer is by far zims best bowler in tests and ODI together with Jarvis... chatara and mpofu are ideally 1st change medium pacers in a perfect world. Cremer and Raza/Williams will be really tricky for srilanka come day 4/5 the way this pitch is acting up... Herath confesses they need to get a lead at the least and hold zim to less than 200 at the most... masakadza can also turn it over though I suspect he will need a serious massage first what with all the diving he did today... great stuff. The stuff of champions!!

  • joshua7072265 on July 15, 2017, 17:30 GMT

    Surely Chatara is better than Mpofu for test cricket. I think one batsman should have made way for an extra spinner. Regis should not be opening.

  • tichao2147390 on July 15, 2017, 14:44 GMT

    Well spoken indeed. A lead of 50 would be handy indeed and if all the zim wkts avg. 20 runs that's a lead of 200 speaking conservatively. The way zim are playing and have handled herath et. al. they could bat the good part of day 3 and into 2nd session day 4... srilanka should be chasing around 350+ on a turning pitch, my money is on Zimbabwe IF THEY MANAGE TO NIP OUT THE LAST 2 wkts with 50 still to get. Cremer has been wonderful! He deserves a 5 -for and Masakanda .. our own Jonty Rhodes... tiripano is solid as a batsmen who really should bat a bit higher while Moor is looking good he has given his wicket away rather than be dismissed in this test and in earlier tests I've seen him play in- a factor of experience while masakadza is like a new man.. flying in the slips like Spider-Man - great stuff!! Chakabva is a good gloveman his batting needs more work maybe a bit of aggression like mire... he's a nice guy ... thus no opening bat. Good luck chaps!

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