November 25, 2002

Inaugural Test - Zimbabwe vs India

Inaugural Test, v India, at Harare Sports Club; 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 October 1992. ZIMBABWE 456 (G W Flower 82, D L Houghton 121, A Flower 59; M Prabhakar 3/66, J Srinath 3/89, A R Kumble 3/79) and 146/4 dec. INDIA 307 (S V Manjrekar 104, N Kapil Dev 60; M G Burmester 3/78, A J Traicos 5/86). Match drawn.

The night before the match, the team had its inaugural pre-Test dinner, which has since become a tradition at the start of every series. There were speeches by captain Dave Houghton and coach John Hampshire, and both had a lasting impact in the minds of many of the players.

Alistair Campbell: "I can remember the dinner the night before, and Dave Houghton's speech. It was really passionate and for us it was embarking on a whole new career, but for the older guys like Houghton and Pycroft it was almost like a swansong. His speech was like that, and for guys like him it was the culmination of so many years' hard work getting Zimbabwe cricket on the map and us youngsters taking over, so it was like a handing-over of the baton. I remember being very stirred by it."

Kevin Arnott: "I remember the night before the Test we had a very special dinner, and John Hampshire set our minds at rest because, being players from different walks of life - lawyers, farmers and so on - and having played a limited number of first-class games, he really encouraged us to the point where we knew we had done everything possible preparation-wise. When you know you can't do anything more mentally and physically, it's left to you now to watch the clock burn and enjoy the moment. That's what actually did happen. Although there were nerves and excitement, we knew we couldn't prepare any more, and that's what made it so special."

Dave Houghton: "To me it all began the night before the match, when we had our inaugural pre-Test dinner, which has now become a bit of a standard affair, with the team having a Test dinner before the start of each series. We had it up here at Harare Sports Club and I can remember everyone wishing each other good luck. No one was having a drink; I think they put some wine on the tables and about two glasses were drunk - I had one and Hamps had the other!

"After all the best wishes were passed on and the talk of the history of playing in our country's first Test match was over, and the dinner ended, Hamps and I were standing by the door when Ali Shah came up and said, `I think I have a problem; I seem to have got a bit of a tweak in the hamstring.' That was at about nine or ten o'clock at night, the night before the Test match!

"Hamps and I put our heads together and I think there was one selector with us, but I can't remember who it was. We came up with Gary Crocker as an alternative. He was in Bulawayo, so we spent the next hour trying to locate Gary Crocker, who was out at some party in Bulawayo. We eventually got hold of him at about eleven o'clock at night and told him that we needed him to play in a Test match the next morning. I think he'd had a few beers, but he went off with his wife and got his kit, and then they got in their car, left Bulawayo at midnight, and then drove all the way to Harare and got here at about 4.30 in the morning. It probably wasn't the most ideal pre-Test preparation but he played the next day. That would be one of my main memories of that Test match, that at midnight the night before we only had ten players! Anyway, we ended up with eleven and Gary actually played quite well."

CAN WE COMPETE?

Naturally it was a time of intense nerves for the players as, with the exception of John Traicos, they were treading waters deeper than they had ever ventured before. Young players today have the benefit of starting in the company of players in their side who have had many Tests and years of experience, but here they were all in it together with only Traicos's three Tests, more than 22 years earlier, to draw on. Without John Hampshire's steadying influence they might well have floundered, as all other incoming Test countries did on their first time out.

Malcolm Jarvis: "I think there was a lot of apprehension: are we good enough to play at this top level? I think as the game progressed we became more and more confident as we realized we could compete at this level. That's when we also realized we should have been playing Test cricket a lot earlier. We certainly proved it against India in this game."

Andy Pycroft: "I think the nerves we had were worse for those of us who had played a lot of first-class cricket but had never played at that level; in other words, the Houghton, Pycroft, Brandes age-group. We were coming into the unknown but, having played a lot of decent cricket, it was almost worse for us than for the youngsters, because we knew what we could expect in a way, but didn't know how well we could play at that level."

"I'll never forget the team talk that John Hampshire, the coach, gave the night before, which tried to dispel the fears we might have had, but was concentrating very much on - obviously it might sound negative but the approach being - we've got to bat as long as we can; we're going to win this toss and we're going to bat, so take your time, bat by sessions, don't even think about the total, and we'll just grind out that first innings and work from there. It worked pretty well for us, as we finished the first day at 180-odd for three and, batting at number four, I only came in to bat about half an hour before the close."

Grant Flower: "I just remember there was quite a bit of a crowd and quite an atmosphere. Something you're not used to, and quite a few nerves, which is natural. Other than that, we had nothing to lose; obviously there was a lot of pressure but we just went out to enjoy it."

THE GREAT DAY ARRIVES

Before the start of the match the teams lined up on the field while the national anthems for both countries were played, a ceremony that perhaps sadly has not been repeated. The weather was hot and sunny, ideal for cricket. Zimbabwe won the toss and were happy to bat first on what looked an excellent batting pitch.

The day before the match, Andy Flower remembers "doing various interviews and having a look at the pitch, having a light practice - and then it was just a wonderful start to Test cricket for us. Grant and Kevin Arnott gave us such a good opening start, and to get 450 in our first Tests innings was sensational. Then we had them under pressure; we were pushing them to the follow-on, and then Kapil Dev came out and blazed a quick 60."

Dave Houghton: "The guys were up for it. We didn't think we could win, and I think that was probably the biggest negative of it, but that's hardly surprising with the side we had, nervous about playing Test cricket, and India were a powerful side. I just think that game was a real exhibition of what you can do with a lot of guts and team spirit rather than any high-powered individuals.

"We normally arrived at the ground an hour and fifteen minutes before the start; I think some guys arrived a little earlier. We went through our pre-match warm-up; Hamps wasn't a big one for large exercise programmes just before the match, so we just had a light loosen-up and a bit of a bat and a bowl, which is Hamps' way. Fortunately when I went out to spin the coin, it fell in our favour.

"It was a difficult decision because we were thinking, `How are we going to get this to go five days?', which was our original programme. Maybe put them in and they'll bat for two and a half, which will take care of half the Test match. But we did it the other way round, and we did it the right way round. Hamps and I looked at the pitch and it was flat. It was a little bit of a gamble (to bat first), not in terms of the pitch itself but about our nerves and everything else - whether we could bat and hold out for it."

THE UMPIRES

There was a unique arrangement for the umpires for that Inaugural Test. The legendary Dicky Bird, from England, was appointed to stand for the match, and also for the two-match series against New Zealand that followed. At the other end the ICC decided, as an experiment, that the umpiring duties at the other end would be shared between Zimbabwe's two premier domestic umpires, Ian Robinson and Kantilal Kanjee. This experiment, partly an attempt to lessen the ever-increasing pressure on international umpires, was continued in the South African series against India that followed.

Ian Robinson: "For us the timing was great; for once I was in the right place at the right time! Those of us involved in umpiring then were aware of the huge step up in umpiring standards that would be required to operate at that level. It was a huge step up for all of us.

"We had the situation where Dickie Bird came out for all three Tests, and Kanjee and I shared the on-field duties with him. Initially it was planned that we would swap over every session during the day, but we decided it wasn't a good idea because we would have lost continuity in the game anyway from changing umpires, so we decided that if we had to change, we would change every day. That's what eventually happened: Kanjee and I changed day by day and Dickie Bird did the whole thing. It wasn't successful; I think the ICC eventually decided it didn't actually work. Maybe it was done because they weren't sure that the local umpires in Zimbabwe or South Africa could actually handle it and thought they would take the soft option.

"The other thing that didn't work was Dickie Bird coming out for all three Tests in a row at that time of the year. I think he suffered from the weather and from illness; in the second New Zealand Test I remember I had to go out and replace him on the last day as he couldn't take it any more.

"I umpired with Dickie quite a few times after that, in a number of places around the world. He was a character, as everybody says. He had his own way of doing things on the field, because of all the experience he had. We took the opportunity to try and learn as much as we could from him."

ZIMBABWE BAT FIRST

Dave Houghton: "So we won the toss and batted, and Kevin Arnott and Grant Flower just did fantastically - saw off the new ball, with Kapil Dev, Srinath and Prabhakar, who were a useful new-ball attack, more than useful. I know Kapil was nearing the end of his career but they were still a good attack and certainly better than most things we had faced.

"I think the partnership between Grant and Kev basically set up the game for us. They put on 100 for the first wicket and we continued that way throughout the day. It wasn't tantalizing stuff with the crowd on the edge of their seats with big strokeplay, but it was doing exactly what we were told to do by Hamps - occupy the crease, patience, play in the corridor, if they pitch it straight play it straight, if it was wide leave it, and that sort of thing, working hard at occupying the crease and spending a lot of time there.

"That happened throughout the day. We did so well that even though I was down to bat at five on the day we actually got a night-watchman going we were doing so well. He did his job too, so I didn't even get in until the second day."

Kevin Arnott faced Zimbabwe's first ball in Test cricket as Kapil Dev ran in from the City (southern) end of the ground. He turned it neatly off his legs for a single down to fine leg and Zimbabwe were off the mark immediately.

Kevin said, "Being older than Grant I asked him if I shouldn't take the first ball. I remember Kapil Dev, with all that experience probably knew that we were nervous in our inaugural Test match, so he took a long time to bowl his first ball. He measured his run-up, changed it, measured it again while the crowd was chanting, working on the nerves on this big occasion. He happened to bowl a ball straight into my favourite area on middle and leg, and the ball went down the leg side for a run, and there it was - first ball in Test cricket yielded a run. It was an enormous relief.

"Shortly afterwards I got a ball from Manoj Prabhakar which actually bounced off my glove and I was caught behind - but it was a no-ball. So it could have been a different beginning to our Test match history, not only for me but also for the whole side. Grant and I, although very slow and taking no chances, managed to take it to 100 for the first wicket. At that stage I was told by my friend Adrian de Bourbon that it was a record opening partnership for a debut opening pair.

"I got out straight after drinks and straight after posting 100, trying to pull a ball from Anil Kumble which I didn't get hold of properly and was out for 40. There was a lapse in concentration, probably a ball I should never have played the shot I did to. From that time on, for the rest of the season, I adopted a slightly more positive approach, which I think we all did. I think that first Test innings of ours was clearly a safety-first for most of us. I know Alistair Campbell played some free-scoring shots from ball one, and Davy Houghton's knock was very memorable, a fine innings with good defence and good strokeplay."

Grant Flower: "I don't remember a lot. It was quite a good pitch, quite flat, and I just played to my strengths, which was leaving the ball outside the off stump and letting the bowlers come to me."

Alistair Campbell: "I remember turning up the following morning in front of our biggest Test crowd so far, and there was a real buzz. I remember us winning the toss, and Kevin Arnott and Grant Flower in the changing room, and the speech before then by Dave Houghton: `Come on, guys, let's get stuck in, this is what we've all been waiting for, let's go and do it, and do it well.' They went out there and I remember the first ball, a gentle little ball down the leg side from Kapil Dev and Kevin Arnott flicked it off his hips for one runs. There was a cheer round the ground and I felt a sense of, `Well, here we are; we've arrived in Test cricket. We'll have it for a long time yet and I hope I can be a part of it for many more Tests to come.'

"It was very slow; in those days the outfield here was so slow and the pitch was so lacking in bounce and slow, so it wasn't ideal for attacking Test cricket. We had our game plan, which was to bat for as long as we could, and then to bowl, very disciplined, in the channel. That's what we did. I was the only guy who had a bit of a crack, 45 off 82 balls until Kapil Dev got me out. I remember hitting him for three fours in a row with the second new ball, and then with the fourth I tried to be clever again, hit right across the line and was out lbw.

"Waiting to go in, I had pad-rash! You want to get it out of the way; it could have been the first over, but I just waited while Grant and KJ played really well, solid stuff. There were a few scares but finally when I did get in just before tea, I remember getting off the mark, first ball I think it was, to Kumble; he bowled one a bit short and I managed to tuck it off my hips for one. A big cheer went up from the crowd; they cheered everyone when they got their first run. That was a special moment that will remain with me and it was good getting in there and playing against these guys whom you had only previously read about and seen on television. These guys are legends - the Kapil Devs, the Prabhakars, Srinath was just starting, Kumble had just had a good series somewhere and was being talked about. So to get in amongst these guys and score a few was special."

The Indian attack also contained Manoj Prabhakar, who had given Zimbabwe some serious problems on his previous visit with the Young Indian team several years earlier, but he was unable to make an impression this time. With Kapil Dev past his best, Javagal Srinath the fastest of the three pacemen but at the start of his international career, as was Anil Kumble, the Indian attack could get little out of the pitch. Still, Zimbabwe's batsmen could well have succumbed to nerves, but the gallant opening pair held firm, with dogged determination rather than memorable strokeplay.

They put on exactly 100 together in 220 minutes before Arnott, his concentration perhaps disturbed by afternoon drinks, was caught at square leg for 40. He was replaced by Alistair Campbell, who batted with more aggression in the company of his great friend Grant Flower. He had just turned 20 but showed typical nonchalance and the ability to rise to the big occasion as he scored 45. Grant unfortunately was given out caught at the wicket for 82, the ball coming off his pads only.

"I remember Grant Flower being unlucky to be given out caught behind for 82," said his brother Andy. "That was gut-wrenching really, because he would have been the first Zimbabwean to score a Test century. Anyway, Dave Houghton took that honour later on; he batted superbly. I remember just playing very tight cricket and scratching away to get nearly 60, but I was very proud to get those runs. I was in overnight (on the second evening), and I thought, `Hell, I've got a chance to get a hundred here,' but I got out very early the next morning."

Dave Houghton: "So that first day was a huge success; we had accomplished what we wanted, getting through the day, losing only a couple of wickets and with a couple of hundred on the board. It set things up so we could bat for two and a bit days and do well on it."

Andy Pycroft: "Batting at number four, I only came in to bat about half an hour before the close. I had been sitting with the pads on for quite some time, watching Kevvie Arnott and Grant Flower, and then Alistair Campbell before me, really work hard for the runs. It was very much the same the next day before Davy Houghton came in to bat. He got a brilliant hundred, very well supported by Andy Flower. But the total that we ground out, 456, was pretty special for a first Test innings, in any circumstances.

"To be honest, there was nothing special in that attack, other than Prabhakar, who swung the ball, and the conditions weren't really there to swing the ball, but he was one of those bowlers who could work it both ways. He troubled because he swung, but the rest didn't trouble. It was a bouncy pitch but the guys played Kumble as a medium-pacer than as a lgg, because he doesn't really turn the ball; he bounced a lot, but we were watching for that. Their figures show that they had to toil long and hard. Put it this way: going into the inaugural Test and facing that attack, we had faced better attacks during the ten years on tours that we had. I'm thinking especially of a couple of those Young West Indian sides, where we were playing three-day cricket instead of five-day Test cricket. But those particular attacks were more special than the one we faced here.

"I got out eventually caught at gully. Prabhakar got the ball to move away; normally when he bowled his away-swinger he moved close to the wicket and when he bowled his in-ducker he came in from wider. He deceived me because he came wide on purpose and moved it away. So he did me there; it was a good piece of bowling, and I went at it and got caught at gully."

A DEBUT CENTURY

Dave Houghton, protected by night-watchman Mark Burmester, did not bat until the second morning. "I felt terrified," admitted Mark. "We'd had a fantastic day, and then Kumble came on for his second spell and picked up two quick wickets. Obviously we wanted to make the game go for as long as possible and were petrified of losing. We wanted to protect the guys for the next day and somebody needed to put up his hand in the changing room. I've always rated myself as a batsman, like most bowlers, so I stuck my hand up and made it through quite easily. Unfortunately I threw it away after six or seven overs the next day, for not many, which was a bit sad."

This brought in Dave Houghton, who batted throughout the day. His century took just over five hours, a historic innings, as he also became at 35 the oldest batsman to score a century on his Test debut, a fine reward for a great servant of Zimbabwe cricket over the years.

"It's not a century I look back on and remember any fancy shots or anything like that," he said. "I just remember really grinding it out because I was at the crease a long time. I got in early on the second day and so batted just about through the day. It's one of those knocks where I can remember hitting a lot of singles and twos; I don't remember smashing anybody for four or playing any exquisite shots. I remember reaching my century with a sweep shot off a spinner, that I hit probably just in front of square on the leg side. Very surprising - about the decent shot I ever played! The important thing was that we did what we were asked to do: occupy the crease, bat through the second day, get a good total on the board, which would basically take away the option of losing.

"Of the Indian bowlers, Prabhakar was always a worry; he nipped the ball around a lot, especially the newer balls. Srinath had a bit of pace, and Kapil just had that beautiful swing, but he had lost a bit of that zip in those days. I personally wasn't fussed about the spinners; I've always enjoyed facing spin, but I would think Prabhakar was probably the best of the attack. It was a good, flat deck to bat on, and he didn't get a lot of sideways movement, only the swing. It was a hard, grinding innings, but I never had any great fear of being knocked over.

"I think our guys were just delighted that we had put up this performance. That was on the batting front, and then of course when we began bowling we lost Eddo (Brandes) after two or three overs, and Eddo was our great fast bowling hope, the one man who could knock a few over - and he was gone within two overs!"

Zimbabwe batted out their innings for 456 in almost 14 hours. Alistair Campbell said, "It must have been really boring to watch, but we had achieved what we set out to do. When you talk about a side that had Kapil Dev, Prabhakar, Srinath, Kumble, Raju and Shastri bowling, that's a decent bowling side and it was a real achievement."

Critics of Zimbabwe's defensive batting and bowling game plans in those early days need to remember their gross inexperience at Test level. They were in effect building a future for their country in Test cricket, and they had to build a foundation that would give them confidence in themselves and their ability to compete at Test level.

A series of hidings in three days through attempting to be positive would have been self-destructive, but by seeking to occupy the crease with the bat and forcing the opposing batsmen to seek them out when in the field, backed by brilliant fielding, enabled them to find their feet in Test cricket without suffering the humiliating, overwhelming defeats that, for example, Bangladesh have had to endure in more recent years. It was the right policy for the players in the circumstances and it prepared the groundwork for years to come.

INDIA ON THE ROPES

India responded with grim defence while John Traicos, the only Zimbabwean with Test experience, weaved his web around their batsmen. His pre-eminence represented a change of policy for Zimbabwe; they had expected the burly Eddo Brandes to be their strike bowler, but he broke down with a serious leg injury after only two overs and Traicos had to take over as the mainstay of the attack.

"I sprained my ankle quite badly at the end of my delivery stride," recalled Eddo Brandes. "I stood on a crack on the pitch; my stud didn't grip and I just slid through and sprained my ankle. (Umpire) Dickie Bird actually thought someone had got shot!" He had to leave the field and could not return during that match; he was not to return until the Second Test against New Zealand.

"Then the old off-spinning master (Traicos) came into play," said Dave Houghton. "He took five wickets, and the one thing that was really still sharp in those days was our fielding. I remember Grant Flower took a great catch at slip and `Traics' himself took a really good caught and bowled. We had them under pressure, even with a weakened attack. Gary Crocker bowled about 20 overs and hardly went for any runs, and got Raman out, their opening batsman. He bowled line and length, one side of the wicket, something we haven't seen our national side do for the last four years. Just look at his spell here - 35 overs, 18 maidens, one for 41. That was a really good example of a guy who was no better than an average club cricketer, playing in his first Test match and just doing what he was told to do. It created pressure because he was able to bowl from one end for long periods of time and bowl the ball just outside off stump to stop the batsman scoring.

"Then, of course, Traics picking up five wickets in his first Test for 22 years was an outstanding piece of bowling. I don't actually remember Traics picking up five wickets in an innings even in first-class cricket, yet he came back to Test cricket and bowled magnificently."

The attack had originally been built around Eddo Brandes, the potential wicket-taker, with the other bowlers, including Traicos, playing more defensive roles, but the tactics had now had to change. Traicos took on the role of attacker, tossing the ball up more than usual, and earned his reward.

Dave Houghton: "Traics through the years that I knew him was the sort of guy who would block an end up while somebody else could strike at the other end; Rawsey (Peter Rawson) for a time and after him Eddo Brandes or Kevin Duers. But without Eddo as our main strike bowler, we had Mark Burmester - again, nice little cricketer but club player - and Gary Crocker as our seam bowling attack, it was quite difficult. But again, the guys did the job: they bowled the line and length, they bowled one side of the wicket, made it difficult for India to score, frustrated India and they got out. If it wasn't for Sanjay Manjrekar who got a hundred, we'd have had them following on."

Mark Burmester: "Traics was a legend. He gave the batsmen nothing, and his fielding in the gully as well, for a guy of his age - when people says somebody leads by example, I don't think you can get any better than Traics. He practised harder than anybody else; he absolutely loved the game, he loved winning and succeeding, and we fed off people like him. Davy had had reasonable international experience at that time (so had Andy Pycroft) and it was so important for those guys to perform - and they did."

Andy Pycroft: "The guys bowled line and length, and the plan there was to frustrate the Indians by bowling as much width outside the off stump as we could and giving them absolutely nothing to work off their legs. It pretty well worked, and if it hadn't been for Sanjay Manjrekar, who batted for about 8½ hours, a really dogged innings, they would have had to follow on."

India slumped to 101 for five, at a scoring rate of less than two an over, but Sanjay Manjrekar was still there. The great Sachin Tendulkar failed to score, Traicos holding a low return catch, and captain Mohammad Azharuddin was superbly held at slip by Grant Flower off the same bowler. The air of excitement rose as the Indians lost one wicket after another that evening, and people now dared to hope that Zimbabwe might actually win their first Test match.

Alistair Campbell: "One thing I remember was that Raman was opening the batting for them and he was lunging on the front foot to `Jarvie' (Malcolm Jarvis). Jarvie bounced him; I was fielding at short leg and it just lobbed up. It must have been the easiest catch I ever dropped, and so I denied Malcolm Jarvis being the first wicket-taker for Zimbabwe - which he still reminds me of on a daily basis!

"I remember the first wicket was taken by Burmester. Ravi Shastri went to play a big drive and was caught at slip by Pycroft, so that was the first Test wicket."

Mark Burmester: "That was more luck that anything else. Eddo's injury was a great loss to us, and India managed to hang on for a draw, but the result might have been a hell of a lot different if we hadn't lost our main strike bowler. But somebody had to take the reins. Davy threw me the ball and I bowled through to the first drinks break without any luck; I hadn't gone for many and the ball was swinging quite nicely on a hot humid day.

"We had drinks and Day said, `Are you strong enough - do you want to carry on?' I did; I bowled three or four dot balls, and then I bowled probably the worst delivery I had bowled all morning. It was a wide swinging half-volley. The guy had a full go at it, nicked it, and it went straight to Andy Pycroft at first slip."

Malcolm Jarvis: "I thought I had scored the first Test duck for Zimbabwe, but I see Eddo Brandes beat me to it! I managed to last two balls to Anil Kumble and was caught bat-pad for nought.

"Then Alistair dropped quite a simple catch at short leg off me, which would have given me the first Test wicket for Zimbabwe. I suppose that was my biggest disappointment; I had to wait some time for it. Manjrekar was my first Test wicket, off a short wide long hop outside off stump, which he managed to cut straight down point's throat! That was my only wicket in the game. It was a memorable occasion being part of the Test team and being able to compete with these guys."

Kevin Arnott: "At the start of their innings they found themselves behind the black ball quite early on. They lost Sachin Tendulkar to a remarkable dismissal when he went on the back foot to John Traicos and chipped it back at him, and we were well into them."

"One clear memory I have is of watching Sanjay Manjrekar bat," Andy Flower recalled. "I thought it was wonderful to watch him play, this very short guy with what I thought was a perfect defensive technique. I thought, `Gee, I'm going to copy this guy,' and for a number of years after that, whenever I felt I wanted to improve my defensive technique, I pictured Sanjay Manjrekar playing in that Test match. He did play very defensively, one of the slowest Test centuries ever, but it was great for me to watch and a real learning experience to visualize this defensive technique, although he was a right-hander, and copy it."

Dave Houghton: "He did the same sort of job that I did; he batted a long period of time, didn't go after anybody, just occupied the crease and tried to get his team to the safety zone where they weren't following on, and he did well. Never gave a chance; he was hard work to bowl at and probably the reasons why we bowled so many maidens in the game because he actually got to the attack quite well."

It has been reported that Dickie Bird, umpiring in this Test as the first third-country umpire to appear under National Grid sponsorship, suggested that Zimbabwe might have forced India to follow on and won this Test had they allowed Traicos to continue to bowl against Kapil Dev instead of taking the second new ball. As it was, Kapil attacked the pace bowlers and later wicket-keeper Kiran More scored 41 so the follow-on was saved with four wickets down, just before the end of the fourth day. This condemned the match to a draw, but very much in Zimbabwe's favour.

Kevin Arnott: "It was our first Test match and we weren't too adventurous in our decisions! I think that's an arguable point."

Dave Houghton: "Hindsight is such a wonderful thing! At the time we had them six or seven down and you would imagine that your second new ball might be able to account for the lower order. It didn't; it's one of those things, and you can look back and say, `Well, maybe we should have done it another way.' At the time I don't see that we made too many mistakes in that game, and we came out of it with flying colours. We secured a very good draw in the first game just by doing the basics correctly and following instructions. We bowled them out 140 behind us, and we had done a pretty good job, in our first Test match ever."

Andy Pycroft: "You could look back and say that was a possibility. Traics had a hell of a good Test; if you think about it, to come into Test cricket a second time at his age, getting five wickets and playing against a side that had the reputation of being good players of spin, was a great performance. It might be a fair comment, but I don't remember feeling at the time that the bowling changes were wrong. Quite often when we were in the field, Davy Houghton would discuss with Traics or myself, being the senior players, what we were going to do, and I don't remember that discussion coming up."

Alistair Campbell: "It was a most enjoyable time, but it was mind-boggling to realize how long five days of cricket is. In patches you have to motivate yourself to keep going, for example when Manjrekar scores 104 off 422 balls. I must tell you there was a lot of solid defensive play, and trying to prise him out on a pitch that was relatively flat and a very slow outfield was really difficult to do. But it gave us an inkling of how Test cricket had to be played. You had to have a totally different mindset from anything we had had before, and basically he who lasts five days wins. It was a good eye-opener and it gave us a lot of confidence going into the next few games, saying, `Gee, I thought it would be a lot harder than this; if we can keep going the same way who knows what might happen? We might not only be able to compete but maybe to sneak one over a side."

Kevin Arnott: "We had to bat again, and we batted a little more positively this time. We had a bit of a scare when we lost Grant and Alistair, but Andy Pycroft was in solid form at the time and Davy Houghton came in and played well again. It was a very memorable Test match and we exceeded everybody's expectations, which was what we set out to do. So I think it was mission accomplished. There wasn't anybody who played badly, actually; we all gave of our best."

Andy Pycroft: "My only memory of that second innings was being very disappointed to be given out lbw to Ravi Shastri on 46, looking obviously for at least a half-century in my first Test match. I know that that ball pitched outside leg stump from the left-arm spinner, so it shouldn't have been given out, but that's one of those things. I really thought I had a Test century in that second innings. One of my regrets, having played three Tests and sitting there with an average of 30, I know that if I had had a full Test career it would have been 40 plus."

AN INDIAN BOUQUET

Quite possibly the Indians were overconfident going into the match, but they played it in sporting spirit. "Generally the Indians are some of the friendliest guys you could ever meet," was Andy Flower's opinion. "Very nice people, quiet, well-spoken, well-mannered, though obviously very excitable on the field."

Dave Houghton: "We'd known each other for a long time. A lot of these Indian guys came on their A side tour to Zimbabwe - Ravi Shastri, Azharuddin, Prabhakar, Srinath and Kumble - so we had established a decent relationship with most of the team over the years. To this day I get on very well with all of them. There was a good relationship between the sides, and they were very complimentary about the way we played over the two games."

Alistair Campbell: "We've always had a very good relationship with the Indians and that's been one thing about playing cricket against them: throughout the years, with all the personnel changes, we've played a lot of our cricket against them, particularly one-dayers, and we've always had a great rapport off the field, played hard on the field, and we're renowned for having very close games. When we play against each other it's exciting stuff, and I've made some very good friends in the Indian side over the years."

Kevin Arnott: "They were fine ambassadors for their country, very good sportsmen and first-class cricketers. Mohammad Azharuddin was a fine captain, I thought at that time. I thought he might have been frustrated by the safety-first approach we adopted on the first day, but that was our prerogative and that was what we did."

Andy Pycroft: "I've always liked the Indian cricketers and Ravi Shastri is a good friend of mine today, obviously through commentaries. And Azharuddin, if you take him before all these problems he got into, he and his team were a fantastic bunch. The atmosphere and the way the game was played was absolutely superb.

"They just got on and played their cricket. They didn't play particularly well in that Test match and maybe they should be criticized for not being more aggressive, but the atmosphere in that match was absolutely outstanding. And I think that relationship between the sides still exists. It is one of the Test nations we have a very good rapport with."

Malcolm Jarvis: "We've never had a problem; even now it's always pretty social and the guys mix well. They were always happy to come and chat to us and we got as much information out of these guys as we could."

Regarding the Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ian Robinson said, "Azhar was great. We never had any trouble with the Indian team. Azhar was a fine captain and what a great player too! He was very easy to deal with."

ASSESSMENT

How do the players account for Zimbabwe's success in that Test match? "I'd like to say it was the character of Zimbabwe cricket, which is passion, power, grit and determination," said Eddo Brandes.

Were the Indians perhaps overconfident going into that match? "I wouldn't have said overconfident," said Dave Houghton. "I think they got a bit of a surprise that we held up our end as well as we did. I think also when I look at the number of Tests India have played in Zimbabwe, they don't particularly play all that well over here. This match was an indication of that. They've beaten us once here in Bulawayo, but in Harare we've won two or three times, and there was that draw. So I wouldn't say overconfident, but I think they got a shock that we did so well.

"No regrets about that game; it was a fantastic game for us. Everything went to plan, we got a really good result out of it; I was just chuffed with everybody, to be honest."

Grant Flower: "I think they were probably a bit over-confident in the Test match and thought they were just going to run over us."

Andy Pycroft: "I can remember finishing that Test match, and I was 36 at that time with knee problems starting to surface from arthritis, absolutely knackered, tired as anything. I think most of the guys were mentally exhausted as well, although we had played five-day cricket in the warm-up towards Test cricket against English sides. The cut and thrust of Test cricket and the mental demands of it really tired one. It was a great Test match and I think we came out of it brilliantly."

John Traicos: "It was a truly memorable occasion which was the result of a good all-round team performance. David Houghton captained positively and everyone played with determination and gave plus one hundred per cent. I think we surprised ourselves that we were able to dominate a good Indian team by playing good steady cricket. Overall it was a happy occasion and everyone felt really proud to be playing for his country."

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