July 22, 2000

Zimbabwe struggle to set England a challenging target

Darren Gough - Most successful of respected pace attack
Photo © CricInfo

Home bowlers contain the scoring rate

Lord's, lunchtime: Zimbabwe 169 for seven; England to bat.

The first hour of play may well have decided the match as Zimbabwe, put in to bat in conditions favouring swing bowling, stumbled to 31 for four. A fine recovery by Andy (48) and Grant Flower (53 not out) eventually took them to 169 for seven, but this should hardly be a target to test England.

Darren Gough, with three for 20, returned the best figures for England after taking the first two wickets, but as usual he was well supported by the other members of England's now highly respected pace attack.

NatWest Series

Balance of match adjusted

The hundred came up in the 38th over, too late for Zimbabwe to be able to set a challenging target, but much better than had looked likely at 31 for four. Grant too now began to expand his repertoire, but the stand ended on 120 in the 42nd over when Andy (48) dabbled outside the off stump at White and was caught by Stewart behind the wicket. Their 89-run partnership might not have transformed the match but it certainly adjusted it. Beginning under cloud, it finished in partial sunshine, physically and metaphorically.

Grant and Carlisle tried hard but largely in vain to improve the scoring rate, and after 45 overs the score was still only 131 for five. Carlisle (14) was caught at long-on by Caddick off White; 143 for six. Streak, an orthodox batsman rather than a big hitter, despite his powerful build, came in next, and hit two superb flat sixes over cover off Caddick. Flower reached his fifty off 99 balls, but lost Streak, lbw to a near yorker for 18 in a fine final over by Gough; Zimbabwe 169 for seven, which was where they finished. Flower finished unbeaten on 53, steadily coming good after a nightmare first half of the tour, while Gough, who started England's success, took three wickets for just 20 runs.