June 23, 2000

Zimbabwe draw with British Universities

Thanks to rain, which wiped out all but 11 balls from the pre-lunch session, the match was doomed to be a draw. Zimbabwe duly batted out the final day, which saw at least some positive batting from Craig Wishart, who scored a century, and Dirk Viljoen and Heath Streak, who recorded unbeaten seventies. They finished on 441 for six, with Viljoen finishing on 72 and Streak on 71.

The Zimbabweans went in to bat with the aim of making quick runs, with overnight batsmen Stuart Carlisle and Craig Wishart both overdue for major innings. The overnight score was 196 for two (Carlisle 60, Wishart 58). Wishart got going in the first over, pulling Franklin over midwicket for four. But a mere six runs off 11 balls were scored before the rain started coming down for the first break of the day. With drizzle continuing on and off, no further play was possible before lunch.

On their past record, the Zimbabweans would surely have done their bets to press for victory, but when play restarted at 1.30 a result was virtually impossible on a good pitch. The break did for Carlisle; with only three runs added, he slashed at Charles Pimlott and was caught at first slip by James Pyemont for 65.

For a while Zimbabwe did nothing to show the enterprise evident during their 11-ball pre-lunch session, perhaps because the conditions were damper, perhaps because all hope of any kind of result had now gone and perhaps because the University bowlers were now spraying the ball so far afield that not many of them could be reached. Wishart hit a few good strokes, mainly through midwicket, including two in successive balls off off-spinner Gavin Franklin, who conceded 39 runs off his five overs, and 78 off 10 in the whole innings. This enabled Wishart to race to his fourth career century, after which he drove powerfully on the off side, until at 116 he tried to pull a ball from Mark Tournier which kept very low, and he was trapped lbw. He hit 4 sixes and 12 fours, and the total was 283 for four.

Andy Flower continued his run of poor form, broken only by a century against a team purporting to represent Gloucestershire last weekend. He faced 14 balls and failed to get off the mark, before mistiming an ill-judged hook against Tournier and skying a catch to Pimlott at long leg; the score 289 for five.

Alistair Campbell had never looked really comfortable, and four runs later, on 26, he drove loosely at Tournier and was bowled. Heath Streak played a couple of 'streaky' hooks against Tournier, twice lobbing the ball high in the deep square leg region but just out of reach of the fielders, and was also dropped off a high chance in the slips off Mark Hardinges. He and Dirk Viljoen batted well together until tea, when the score was 328 for six off 100 overs (Viljoen 22, Streak 11).

With neither team able to do more than have a practice out in the middle and possibly improve their averages, Viljoen played some handsome drives through the covers and point that did his average no harm at all, but survived two confident appeals at the wicket that impressed the fielders but not umpire Lloyds. He ran to a quick fifty off 80 balls.

Soon afterwards Streak, generally less noticeable but in fact the faster scorer, off-drove Dawson for four to bring up his own 50, off 75 balls, and the team's 400. Soon afterwards he swung Dawson for a massive six over midwicket into the tennis courts. The hardy spectators, perhaps as many as 50, were getting entertainment, if not purpose, Streak hitting three fours in the final over before Zimbabwe acceded to the common demand and declared so the match could finish at 5.20.