July 18, 2000

Stewart strikes England into a commanding position

Alec Stewart
Alec Stewart - century inspires England
Photo © CricInfo

Edgbaston, teatime: England 262 for eight; Zimbabwe to bat

A magnificent century by Alec Stewart led England into a potentially winning position in their NatWest Series match against Zimbabwe at Edgbaston. Their 262 was a fine achievement, with Thorpe and Hussain playing good supporting roles, but it all revolved around Stewart's fine innings.

NatWest Series

Again the partnership was broken just as it was threatening to overwhelm the opposition. Grant Flower got a ball to spin sharply back to the left-handed Thorpe, bowling him between bat and pad for 33; England 166 for four in the 36th over after a stand of 81.

England - two captains in prolific partnership

Hussain, returning after injury, enjoyed a leg-side first ball from Flower and swept it fine for four. He found it hard to keep the score moving, though, until he finally reached double figures, then he and Stewart began to open out as the 200 came up in the 43rd over. Stewart reached a fine century, his first in one-day internationals for three years and third overall, off 142 deliveries and received a rapturous ovation by the crowd. He did not last long afterwards, though, backing away to hit Viljoen through the off side and being yorked for 101; England 218 for five.

White was not in for long before he lofted Grant Flower for two successive sixes, straight and over extra cover; he hit 21 off just 11 balls before mistiming a pull off Streak to Johnson at midwicket. England were 246 for six in the 48th over. When Hussain tried to emulate White with a straight six, he instead lofted Whittall into the hands of Viljoen at long-off to depart for 35; England 251 for seven.

A winning total?

Ealham (9 not out) added a couple of lusty blows before losing Caddick (1) yorked, middle stump, by Streak in the last over, as England added to what should be a winning total, as long as their bowling is able to maintain its usual high standard during the past three matches.