October 1, 2003

Carlisle and Wishart ease Zimbabwe to comfortable win

The Wisden Bulletin by Wisden Cricinfo staff

Zimbabweans 241 for 3 (Carlisle 89*, Wishart 63*) beat Cricket Australia Chairman's XI 240 (Campbell 65, Streak 4-33) by seven wickets

Geoff Marsh has a merry swing against the Zimbabweans © Getty Images

After restricting the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI to only 240 in their official tour opener at Lilac Hill, Perth, the Zimbabweans put in a responsible batting display to chase it down successfully, getting to their target in 41.2 over with seven wickets, and 52 balls, in hand.

The Chairman's XI was an eclectic mix of national stars, former stalwarts and future players, and in the second over of the day, Damien Martyn, recently recalled to the Test side, looked as if he was determined to celebrate. After Adam Gilchrist fell to the fifth ball of the game, Martyn took 30 runs off Sean Ervine's first over, with three sixes and three fours. Ervine was hurriedly taken off, and Andy Blignaut, introduced instead, had Martyn caught at backward point for 31 - off just eight balls.

Streak further rocked the Chairman's XI when an edge from Shaun Marsh flew to third slip, where Dion Ebrahim took the catch, resulting in a first-ball duck. That denied Geoff Marsh, the Zimbabwe coach and former Australian and Western Australia opener, the chance to bat with his son. Obviously enjoying the chance to put his coach under some pressure, Streak set a field with nine slips: Marsh almost obliged him by edging the second ball he faced to second slip, but it was dropped.

Then Marsh worked with Langer to show his charges the way an innings should be resurrected, as the Chairman's XI moved on to 84. Marsh was then caught by Craig Wishart for 27 off Blessing Mawhire, who was only supposed to be on the tour for development reasons, to work with bowling coach Bruce Reid and at the University of Western Australia.

Langer was also dismissed for 27, but took much longer than Marsh to compile his runs. Ryan Campbell's arrival at the crease gave the scoring some impetus, as Trevor Gripper found when he had successive deliveries put over the square-leg and fine-leg fences. Campbell brought up his half-century off 63 balls and hit another six off Gripper, who had the agony of seeing the fieldsman drop the ball over the boundary. However, two balls later he wasn't quick enough to complete two runs and Mark Vermeulen's throw allowed Tatenda Taibu to take off the bails and end Campbell's entertaining innings on 65. Brad Hogg biffed 39 towards the end, but the last three wickets fell for three runs, leaving the Zimbabweans with a realistic chase when play resumed.

Even that looked in jeopardy when Zimbabwe were tottering at 26 for 2, with Dion Ebrahim and Gripper both out. But Mark Vermeulen and Stuart Carlisle resurrected the innings, putting on 78 for the third wicket. Vermeulen made 61 off as many balls, with nine fours and two sixes, before falling to Peter Worthington.

The Chairman's XI had little joy after that. Carlisle and Craig Wishart added 237 runs for the fourth wicket, a stand that saw Wishart make 63 off just 76 balls, with eight fours and two sixes. Carlisle, though, was the real champion; with an innings of 89 off 95 balls, he formed the backbone of the Zimbabweans' chase with the type of responsible knock that his side will need plenty of in the upcoming series against Australia.