Zimbabwe resistance flowers at Lord's

John Ward

July 22, 2000

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Lord's, 30 overs: Zimbabwe 77 for four (A Flower 34, G Flower 11)

After 15 overs of the NatWest Series final at Lord's the match appeared to be decided. England's superb pace attack, aided by the winning of the toss under overcast skies, had reduced Zimbabwe to 31 for four wickets and the tourists appeared to be on the verge of another Lord's walkover.

But then the Flower brothers dug in to give Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope. After playing themselves in with care, Andy in particular began to play his strokes with more fluency, and after 30 overs they had improved the situation to the extent of 77 runs for four wickets.

Gough, magnificent, has Zimbabwe in early trouble Caddick bowled the first ball of the match just outside the off stump and Johnson, with the sweetest of timing, eased it between backward point and cover to the boundary. Whittall was less fortunate, or skilful, with his first ball, from Gough, which he guided straight into the hands of Hick at a wide second slip.

In Gough's second over Hick, now in the gully, just failed to pull off what would have been a brilliant one-handed catch to his right off Johnson. In his next over he did the job himself, moving a ball in sharply to Goodwin (3), playing his last international innings, and just clipped his off bail. Zimbabwe were 12 for two and Gough, fully fired up, was bowling magnificently.

Captain comes in early to avert crisis

Zimbabwe fought for survival, at a rate that was at times below two runs an over. Campbell struggled for 19 balls for his single before driving half-heartedly at Mullally and giving a low catch to White in the covers; Zimbabwe 21 for three. The crisis brought out Andy Flower, ahead of his expected position at number seven, taking on full responsibility as captain.

Johnson's innings was a mixture of sound defence, occasional swishes and every now and then a superb four. But it came to an end on 21 as he slashed with a diagonal bat at a ball from Caddick outside his off stump and played it on to his wicket. Zimbabwe were 31 for four in the 15th over and staring heavy defeat in the face.

NatWest Series

The Flower brothers, Andy and Grant, held on firmly but were unable to increase the scoring rate; the fifty came up in the 25th over. After that Andy gradually became more fluent, playing his favourite strokes squarish on both sides of the wicket.

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