|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
August 24, 2005
Despite clear skies, the start was delayed by 45 minutes after condensation under the covers left the pitch damp. The resulting reduction in overs to 44 spared Zimbabwe's hapless bowlers an even more severe battering that they got anyway. New Zealand, put in by Tatenda Taibu in the hope his bowlers could exploit any lingering moisture, smacked 397 for 5, one short of the highest ODI total ever (and that was made from a full six overs more).
Lou Vincent, whose role as an opener was described akin to "putting a band-aid over a gaping wound" by team-mate Chris Cairns earlier in the week, filled his boots with all the enthusiasm of a child in a sweet shop. In 120 balls of pure carnage, he clobbered 172, the highest score in an ODI by a New Zealander, including 118 in boundaries.
New Zealand cut loose from the off, racing to 84 for 0 off 10 overs as Vincent and Stephen Fleming feasted upon Zimbabwe's bowlers. Vincent brought up his fifty off 40 balls, briefly pausing for breath in the nineties, before bringing up his hundred with a lofted six off Anthony Ireland. Fleming, 93, matched him almost blow for blow, taking the score to 204 in 28 overs before he gave the debutant, Ireland, his first international wicket.
By then, the New Zealanders were probably scrapping in the pavillion, itching to get to the middle. Craig McMillan swatted 47 off 26 deliveries, and then Vincent's barrage was ended when he was brilliantly caught by Prosper Utseya on the square-leg boundary off Andy Blignaut. That was scant consolation for Blignaut who had been the most severely mauled bowler, conceding 96 runs in nine painful overs. Brendon McCullum (51 not out off 22 balls) launched a final assault to bring New Zealand within one run of equaling the world record.
Zimbabwe were never going to win, and they adopted a sensible strategy of batting through the overs to make a decent score rather than throw wickets away in a futile chase. Brendan Taylor and Stuart Carlisle survived a testing opening spell by Shane Bond and then found enough width from a rusty Cairns to keep the scoreboard ticking along, even if the asking rate quickly shot into double figures.
But a mid innings collapse threatened to give Zimbabwe another unwanted record - the heaviest ODI defeat of 256 runs - but Heath Streak clubbed 45 at the death to avoid that ignominy. Even so, this was another performance which gave even more ammunition to those questioning Zimbabwe's right to continue sitting at international cricket's top table.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ishant Sharma has often been the butt of jokes, and sometimes deservedly so. Today, however, the joke was on England
The leave outside off stump has been critical to M Vijay's success since his India comeback last year. Contrary to popular opinion, such patience and self-denial comes naturally to him
They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity
Only 15 times in Test history has a player achieved the double of 300 runs and 20 wickets in a Test series. Going on current form, Bhuvneshwar could well be the 16th
In India's win at Lord's, Ishant Sharma took the best bowling figures by an Indian in the fourth innings of a Test outside Asia. Here are five other best bowling efforts by Indians in the fourth innings of Tests outside Asia
India's wretched run away from home began at Lord's in 2011. A young team full of self-belief may have brought it to an end with their victory at the same venue three years later
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?