Solanki stars for England before rain stops play
38 overs England 198 for 5 (Collingwood 35*, Jones 25*) v Zimbabwe - Rain ended play at 5pm
Match scheduled to resume tomorrow at 10.15am
Vikram Solanki led from the front with a mellifluous 62 as England set about their Champions Trophy campaign against Zimbabwe with some variable batting - that was before the rains came, again. The wet weather had already pushed the start back to 2pm, and then ultimately curtailed proceedings as England stumbled to 198 for 5. The match will resume tomorrow, weather permitting.
England were put in to bat by Tatenda Taibu, and started brightly enough - courtesy of seven zooming wides in the opening over from 18-year-old Tinashe Panyangara, who seemed overawed by the prospect of bowling against England. Marcus Trescothick struck two scintillating fours, before his innings ended abruptly on 10 as he edged Douglas Hondo's loose-but-bouncy delivery to first slip, playing away from his body (21 for 1).
Michael Vaughan made an enterprising and entertaining start, including two majestic hooks in consecutive balls from Hondo, which flew for six. The second one brought up England's 50 in the eighth over. But Vaughan's disappointing one-day season continued, as Edward Rainsford invited a drive which Vaughan thick-edged to second slip (54 for 2). Rainsford, the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers, deserved his first one-day international wicket, and he later struck again to remove Andrew Strauss.
Strauss and Solanki had enjoyed a useful partnership - mustering 60 runs from 62 balls - before Strauss fell for 25, trying to steer a widish delivery to third man (114 for 3). Taibu, ever alert behind the stumps, dived full-stretch to his left and Strauss was gone - and in strode Andrew Flintoff, the man of the moment.
Flintoff was fortunate to survive a first-ball lbw shout from Rainsford, but two balls later he clubbed a typical four and the crowd settled back to enjoy the ride. But, unusually for Flintoff in this, his summer of plenty, it was only to be a quick trip out. A touch over-confident, he stepped up to toe-end a full-length drive off Panyangara to deep mid-off, where Hondo was waiting to typify Zimbabwe's superb fielding. Hondo grabbed the ball - diving - to cut short Flintoff's journey (123 for 4).
Solanki, meanwhile, continued to hold the England innings together, and brought up his fifty in fine style, with a crashing slash through backward point. He played gracefully throughout his innings, comfortably despatching anything pitched up with a series of glorious drives and well-timed shots off his legs, before eventually being trapped lbw by the part-time medium-pace of Sibanda (159 for 5).
Geraint Jones then stepped in to mount some sturdy resistance with Paul Collingwood. But then, just as they were hitting their straps - and the boundary boards - the game was washed out for the day.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.