Zimbabwe XI v Australia A, Harare, 1st day July 21, 2011

Australia A fight back after Taylor, Masakadza fifties


Zimbabwe XI 250 for 5 (Taylor 85, Masakadza 64) v Australia A

Zimbabwe XI welcomed Brendan Taylor, the new national captain, back to their ranks for the second four-day match against Australia A at Harare Sports Club and he made an immediate impression, top-scoring with 85 and sharing a 96-run stand for the third wicket with Hamilton Masakadza. Their efforts put their team in a good position before a brace of late wickets for Luke Butterworth pegged Zimbabwe back to 250 for 5 at stumps.

Taylor was one of four changes to Zimbabwe XI's team for this match, with Ray Price, Chris Mpofu and Kyle Jarvis also included. His first duty after returning from the shoulder niggle, and nasal surgery, that kept him out of the first match was to win the toss, after which he decided to bat. Opener Vusi Sibanda rocketed out of the blocks in uncharacteristically attacking fashion, striking seven fours before he was bowled by left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc for 33 in the 12th over.

A boundary-hitter in domestic cricket, Tino Mawoyo continued to curb his attacking instincts and was not removed until the 27th over, for a grinding, 78-ball 24. His departure brought Masakadza and Taylor together, and after seeing their side safely to lunch they set about the Australian bowlers with increasing assertiveness in the afternoon.

Both men passed fifty and looked set for plenty more before Trent Copeland trapped Masakadza in front of his stumps for 64. Once again the batsmen went into survival mode, mindful of a brittle middle order, and both Taylor and Craig Ervine played with utmost caution to take their side to 196 for 3 at tea.

They batted on through the afternoon at a fairly sedate pace, but the new ball was taken with just under five overs to go before stumps, and it quickly brought results for Australia. Butterworth got through Taylor's defences to remove him leg before for 85, and end the fourth-wicket partnership at 76, and in his next over found the edge of Ervine's bat as Zimbabwe slipped to 250 for 5.

Nightwatchman Ray Price and wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva survived a nervous few minutes, but after Zimbabwe had held their own for extended sessions of play the late wickets tipped the balance of the day's honours in Australia's favour.

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on July 22, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    @hyclass - as per the article posted yesterday about Hughes, I am ASSUMING that Hughes is a certainty for the test squad. As for being "dropped" - it will all depend on their reasoning. As I believe the whole tour was about giving players a go, I am comfortable with Hughes getting one game. Otherwise, we'd have Hilfenhaas playing 2 games, (I sort of didn't want Siddle to play both games either). As it is Warner & Finch have taken their oppourtunity. On another matter when's the last time you've had ANYTHING positive to say about Oz cricket???????

  • kudakwashe on July 22, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    cricket is all about consistence,Mawoyo's contribution of +30 runs in all innings is good enough a contribution. Chigumbura never stops to amaze me, today you score a century and the next game you score absolutely nothing, that is poor cricket. A contribution of at least 20 was good enough from someone who has managed a 100.

  • Mo on July 22, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    A good batting display by Taylor & Masakadza, another failure by Elton Chigumbura with his batting, Taibu is a better proposition than Elton. Ervine needs time to settle into the longer version of the game. Liam what we need is Gary Balance to stabilise our batting. Regis Chakabva & Foster Mutizwa are class batsmen & should be elevated above Chigumbura.

  • Bryton on July 22, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    Interesting Zim seem to have issues with negotiating close of play (in combination with the new ball)...would I be wrong with saying they get overly cautious in trying to get to close of play and hence prone to errors, e.g. first match were Day1 at 200/3 to 206/6 in the closing session, and also second match from a very commanding 244/3 5 overs before close to 250/5...something Grant Flower needs to work on?

  • Bryton on July 22, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    @Farai, Mawoyo was a performers in the Logan cup, and he has given the team a solid start for the team in all 3 innings, something crucial for a team with a brittle middle order as Zim has. One must not look at what the individual is achieving but, what the team is achieving because of the individual. If Gary Ballance could be enticed back into the, however, I would be happy to drop Mawoyo for him (why isn't he there???..Liam any ideas?). I think your omission of Utseya is an interesting one as well, I'd say with the pace comming good we will only have 2 spots for our 3 slower bowlers Price and 1 of Creamer & Utseya for me its Utseya. So Test: 1. Sibanda 2. Ballance/Mawoyo 3. Masakadza 4. Taylor 5. Taibu 6. Chigumbura 7. Utseya 8. Vitori 9.Price 10. Jarvis/Meth 11.Mpofu. Craig Ervine still needs work. ODI: 1. Raiza 2. Taylor 3. Masakadza 4. Ervine 5. Taibu 6. Chigumbura 7.Utseya 8.Creamer 9.Price 10.Jarvis/Masakadza 11. Mpofu. Maybe drop a bowler for Butterworth/Coventry/Mawoyo

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    @farai Andison-- i see u have left out prosper Utseya, i think taylor should continue batting at four as this should steady the battung line up with Tiba coming back to bat at 5 then ervine 6 chigs 7 on the bowlers front i dnt think Meth can play there are so many other guys better than him. Int national cricket can expose him.

    So much for the ausies crying foul over the exclusion of Phil Hughes, i thot the tour was aimed at allowing everyone to play a bit and be assesed phil played well throughout the selectors pretty much know that he is in good form they have already assesed him and now they are looking at other guys.

  • Christopher on July 22, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    Im shocked and dismayed to find that Phillip Hughes has not been selected for this,the final four day fixture on tour,despite his wonderful form and upcoming test series.All the way from Australia to Zimbabwe for four innings,when others have played a myriad of games on this tour.Even more astonshingly,there have only been four batsmen selected.Four batsmen,the keeper,two pace bowling allrounders,three more pacemen,including Siddle.Then theres Krezja,the so-called spinner.Five pace men.The keeper.The spinner.Four batsmen.A hopelessly unbalanced side.Chappell is the selector on duty and as usual,is demonstrating his complete lack of judgement or some biased against Hughes.If not that,then what other reasonable explanation?Chappell has publicly backed Warner.He also interfered in the Futures League and Centre of Excellence,his former decisions being reversed by a committee.I hope Zimbabwe bowlers crush this batting lineup.Then again,being crushed in the Ashes made almost no difference.

  • Alex on July 22, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    @hyclass, couldn't have put it better myself.Although as a victorian i feel i must mention jon holland in the future spin ranks, he's not there yet but I am looking forward to seeing how he improves over the next couple of years. I can't figure out kreja's role in the aus a squad surely this should be the arena for lyon or o'keefe to prove themselves. I mean selectors just dumped katich for is age (and he is currently the best opening bat aus has), so why keep kreja?

  • Christopher on July 21, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    Well done Zimbabwe,but the future of Oz spin bowling is not playing in this game.No its not Beer.Its O'Keefe,Hauritz and Lyon.Even the state sides didnt know who Beer was,when he was selected for australia and the public were shocked as he had barely played a first class game and had 6 wickets in total.He was only selected because he played club cricket in melbourne with Warne,who mentioned his name as a favour to a mate.Thats how absurd selection has been in australia.We had two tasmanian selectors.They favoured tasmanians,no matter the cost to australia.Thus,Doherty,Krezja,Paine,Hilfenhaus and Ponting continued to get games ahead of far better performing players.Imagine going into tests with 4 or 5 players underperforming.Because Ponting was selected out of form,they couldnt very well sack North,Hussey or anyone else for the same fault.Thus australia fell to 5th.Super performers like Hodge and David Hussey couldnt get a game and O'Keefe didnt get a game at the SCG,his home ground.

  • raymond on July 21, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    À good days return for Zimbabwe who are looking good to make at least 300 should chakabva and chigumbura continue with their good form. Disappointing defeat in the first match when they looked at least to be going on to force a draw. They played too cautiously and didnt score quickly enough- Vitori is definitely impressing _4 wkts in the first game he is one for the future- chigumbura 100 + 2 wkts - I see in the distance the event of zim's horizon!

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