June 18, 2000

Gloucestershire v Zimbabweans, Day 3

Gloucestershire are facing one of the heaviest defeats in their history after closing the third day of the Vodafone Challenge Series match with Zimbabwe in Gloucester on 98-4 in their second innings.

The tourists had earlier declined to enforce the follow on after dismissing Gloucestershire for 167 in their first innings of 568.

Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower then struck 116 not out in his side's second innings 258-2 declared, which left Gloucestershire a nominal 660 to win.

Gloucestershire's decision to rest seven first team regulars was again exposed by Zimbabwe on a day of sweltering heat at the King's School festival ground.

Gloucestershire resumed on 146-7, but that was effectively eight wickets down with acting captain Tim Hancock unable to bat because of a fractured knuckle on his left hand.

The last two wickets added a further 21 runs before the innings was wrapped up by Paul Strang, who had Ben Gannon caught behind, and Heath Streak, who had Martyn Ball dismissed in the same fashion.

Gloucestershire enjoyed some early success with the ball when Gannon had Craig Wishart caught at the wicket by Jack Russell for a rapid 40 and Jon Lewis removed Trevor Gripper, also caught by Russell, for eight.

But thereafter Andy Flower and his brother Grant sent the ball fizzing to all parts of the ground with a fine display of attacking shots.

Grant Flower had struck ten fours and a six in his 76 when he retired hurt with a minor finger injury, having put on 170 in 27 overs with his brother.

But Andy Flower progressed to a chanceless century, which was brought up with a cut to the third man boundary off spinner Martyn Ball.

When the Zimbabwe skipper decided to declare at tea, he had made 116 from 129 deliveries and struck 15 fours and two sixes.

No-one suffered more in the Gloucestershire attack than Tom Cotterell, whose left-arm spin went for 86 runs in 19 wicketless overs.

Gloucestershire's second innings got off to a poor start with the cheap dismissals of openers Dominic Hewson and Imraan Mohammed.

Hewson cut a Streak delivery to Dirk Viljoen at gully for 11, then Imraan was lbw to Pommie Mbangwa for four as he shuffled across his stumps.

Matt Windows made a fluent 25 for Gloucestershire before he was bowled by a Streak delivery which kept low.

And then Chris Taylor fell lbw to Paul Strang's leg-spin as he failed to get sufficiently forward.

Jack Russell reached an unbeaten 19 by the close, but there appears little chance of Gloucestershire escaping with a draw.