Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, only Test, Colombo, 5th day July 18, 2017

Cremer proud despite 'rollercoaster of emotions'

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Graeme Cremer dismissed both of Sri Lanka's overnight batsmen, but it wasn't to be Zimbabwe's day © Associated Press

With Zimbabwe having come so close to winning their first Test against Sri Lanka, and fallen short, there was disappointment for captain Graeme Cremer. Disappointment about missing a vital stumping chance and two catches on day five. Disappointment that a third-umpire's decision Zimbabwe felt was straightforward, went against them. And even some disappointment that their next international assignment is as far away as October, so there is nowhere really to put all this confidence they have built up on this tour.

But trumping all of that, he said, was pride.

"We thought 388 was going to be tough - especially on the last day. We had picked up three wickets yesterday so we only needed to pick up seven today. It has been a sort of a rollercoaster of emotions. But I am still proud of the way the guys played and the way they fought. I'm very proud of the way the guys played to win an ODI series here. Then push them in the Test match and almost beat them, and into the fifth afternoon - it's a good effort from our boys."

A "rollercoaster" partly because Zimbabwe had been in control of the match, when Cremer dismissed the overnight pair in the first hour, leaving Sri Lanka five down with 185 runs still to get. They should have been six down with 151 to get, had third umpire C Shamshuddin ruled Niroshan Dickwella out when he was stumped on 37. It was a close decision: no part of the popping crease was visible behind Dickwella's boot at the moment the bails came off. However, it was unlikely that any part of the boot was behind the crease either, which should result in an "out" decision.

"From what I saw, I honestly didn't see any doubt as to why he shouldn't be out," Cremer said. "It's just one of those things. If you've got technology, it clearly shows it. It happens to us quite a lot as well, we feel. It's tough when those things go against you, especially when you are trying to win a Test match on a last day."

Zimbabwe's strength right through the tour has been their batting. They became the first team to successfully chase a score of over 300 in Sri Lanka, in the first ODI, and breached 350 in both innings in this match. The score of 377 in the second innings was particularly impressive, as Zimbabwe had been 59 for 5 at one stage.

Apart from surviving the stumping, Niroshan Dickwella was put down by Regis Chakabva on 63 © AFP

"It's usually with the bat that we struggle a bit, but having lost early wickets in the first and second innings, it shows that guys' skill levels have improved, to be able pull it back the way we did, and get over 350 in both innings," Cremer said. "We've still got a lot of work to do - a bit more with the ball. And when we get into a position like we were in the first innings, we could have probably got 400. It's a learning curve for us because we don't get to play a lot of Test cricket. The way the guys fought was excellent."

While Sri Lanka will immediately begin preparing for a long home series against India, Zimbabwe lay dormant across all formats through the months of August and September. Cremer hoped the team's performance on this tour would help Zimbabwe Cricket leverage other cricket boards, in securing a fuller schedule.

"Even before this Test match our Managing Director said he wanted to push for more Test cricket and more cricket in general. We have shown that we can push big teams even away from home. We have West Indies coming to us for two tests in October, and we're confident of pushing them because we're playing in Zimbabwe.

"Ireland and Afghanistan are also competitive teams, so now that they have Test status, I'm hoping we get more cricket."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Carlyle on July 20, 2017, 9:54 GMT

    Cremer's comments on the Dickwella stumping are not very sportsmanlike and professional. It was the decision of an independent umpire and should be accepted in the spirit of the game. It is disappointing when a losing captain makes comments like this to devalue SL's victory.

  • watuda2584036 on July 20, 2017, 9:11 GMT

    We all make mistakes. Some go your way and some are not. Benefit of the doubt always goes to the BATSMAN. The line belongs to the umpire. He needs real constructive evidence to give the batsman out. In this case there was none. Besides during the one day series there were few decisions went against Lankans as well. Congrats to both the teams. Good luck with India.

  • izzido8204666 on July 20, 2017, 7:34 GMT

    Zimbabwe should be very proud of their performance in Sri Lanka in the ODI's and the test series . Though they lost the test series due to poor umpiring decisions they out played Sri Lanka in every department and in the ODI's winning 2-1. No country has ever dominated over Sri Lanka at home. Only an year ago Sri Lanka whitewashed the Aussies 3-0 in the test series but lost both the ODI's and the T20's 3-0 and 2-0. Hope this performance by Zimbabwe will help to kick start the quality and standard of Zimbabwe cricket which has stalled in recent years.

  • Indika on July 20, 2017, 4:08 GMT

    Welcome to international cricket creamer. Sri Lanka too has been in the receiving end for many years. We got some unbelievable decisions in SA Australia England NZ India etc.Once Rudy Courtson gave a shocker to Kumar sanga in Australia when he was on 191 and SL lost the match by few runs. But tell your team mates to hold on to the catches.Rather than putting the blame on the umpires....put the blame on your players.

  • Manik on July 20, 2017, 3:49 GMT

    One thing is sure that SL needs to wake up. Herath may leave soon. Find some good bowlers to take wickets in test. Even in home condition, a team ranked 10th gave you a nightmare. What can you say after this?

  • chandras on July 20, 2017, 2:28 GMT

    Zimbabwe lost because of the missed chances by their fielders.so don't blame the umpires.some says it's 50/50.some say umpires decision was right.somesay its wrong.these things can happen in matches.if you hold to your chances and take catches no need to blame anyone.sri lanka too had bad experience in the past with other countries with regards to umpiring decisions.but you cant keep on saying that.you have to find a way to get the wickets.hold catches.

  • Nimmie on July 19, 2017, 17:09 GMT

    These incidents are all part and parcel of the Game, some writers has always been lamenting defeats of oppositions as if they haven't experienced these types of situations before.

  • ashwin3748344 on July 19, 2017, 16:21 GMT

    SL can only survive by umpiring errors.

  • cricfan5051178936 on July 19, 2017, 16:02 GMT

    I think zim was just unlucky

  • Six on July 19, 2017, 15:55 GMT

    It's out and Zim may have won. It should be investigated.

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