Zimbabwe require pace lessons

Zimbabwe’s captain Graeme Cremer, and coach Heath Streak, during a media conference on day two of the day-night test against South Africa at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth
Picture: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Captain Graeme Cremer admits SA attack was too hot to handle

Zimbabwe have a great deal to learn after their humbling defeat at the hands of a venomous South African pace attack at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, captain Graeme Cremer said.

The tourists were bowled out for a meagre 121 in their second innings, handing victory to the Proteas by an innings and 120 runs shortly before the supper break on day two of their four-day, day-night, pink ball test.

Starting the day on 30 for four in their first innings, the tourists were dismissed for 68.

They were then rolled in their second innings to effectively lose 16 wickets in under two sessions, thanks to some excellent performances from the Proteas bowlers.

“It [the ball] moved around a lot under lights, but today [Wednesday] it still seamed a bit, but they were just better than us; we got blown away by their seamers. They bowled really well and never let up,” Cremer said.

He said South Africa’s seamers hit the right areas with alarming regularity, and openly admitted they had not expected such a tough assignment.

“We knew it was always going to be tough, maybe not this tough; we know we have a long way to go, especially in test cricket – it’s something we have struggled with.”

Cremer admitted his team had struggled to get used to the pace and movement of the pitch, saying they did not play on fast, bouncy tracks too often.

“Our first-class standard is nowhere near as high as that of South Africa or Australia. The wickets we play on don’t have much pace or bounce; they turn a little bit, so getting used to this is really tough.

“This [South African] attack will test your technique and exploit any weaknesses.”

Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak said his batsmen had encountered difficulties with the visibility of the seaming pink ball at night, and this had somewhat prevented his players from fully expressing themselves.

“We did not bowl too badly on this wicket, but I think we could have done a lot better. Once the lights came on, it was difficult for both teams to bat in those conditions.

“Certainly for us, it was difficult to play attacking cricket [on Tuesday night] with the ball moving as prodigiously as it was.”

Looking forward, Streak said the bulk of Zimbabwe’s squad would remain the same, with one or two young players coming into the fold.

“The majority of this squad is the same guys who beat Sri Lanka away, so I don’t think there is a need for wholesale changes.”

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