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The Zimbabweans came to India to learn. Though they lost the Test match by an innings and the limited-overs series 3-0, the newcomers to Test cricket gained valuable experience from their first overseas tour at this level. It was a useful step forward after a debut Test season at home, in which they had announced their arrival by dominating the one-off Test against India in Harare. The conditions were very different. The well-rolled turf of the Harare Sports Club had denied help to all the bowlers, fast and slow, while the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi held out something for the spinners. The Indians, fresh from their rousing 3-0 triumph over England, were hot favourites to win a fourth consecutive Test, and duly did so, by an innings and 13 runs.
However, the Flower brothers made a heroic attempt to deny the home side victory, after the Indian batsmen had run up another remorseless score to support their spinners. Vinod Kambli, the young left-hander and the lesser-known half of the famous unbroken schoolboy record partnership of 664 with Sachin Tendulkar, joined Walter Hammond and Sir Donald Bradman as the only batsmen to have scored double-centuries in successive Test innings. But most of the second day's play was wasted, due to light rain and an inadequate covering system, and a declaration by lunch on the third day left India a little more than half the scheduled playing time of 30 hours to force a win. A day later, Zimbabwe were 62 short of averting the follow-on. The Flowers had added 192, Andy reaching Zimbabwe's first overseas Test hundred and Grant poised to follow. But a solitary lapse of concentration on Andy Flower's part was sufficient to kill the momentum: he charged spinner Maninder Singh and was stumped. His younger brother was soon out too and Zimbabwe collapsed.
In the second innings, Andy Flower played a prominent role again, making an unbeaten 62, but India won with a little under two hours to spare.
The Zimbabweans were way behind in the one-day Internationals. They lost the first and third conclusively, and could stretch India only in the rain-shortened second match at Gauhati, settled by a forceful and opportune innings from India's captain, Mohammad Azharuddin. With this success to cap four consecutive Test victories, India's finest-ever run, in the same season in which the side was outplayed in South Africa, he may have proved the adage that there is no place like home.
Public interest in the series was limited, despite the enthusiasm engendered during the Tests against England just beforehand. Crowds at the Test averaged around 5,000 a day. And though the one-day internationals were all fairly full, they were played in secondary centres, where people are less blasé. The TV audience figures were poor and the tour was too short for the Zimbabweans to emerge as major personalities.
D. L. Houghton (captain), A. Flower (vice-captain), K. J. Arnott, D. H. Brain, E. A. Brandes, G. A. Briant, A. D. R. Campbell, G. J. Crocker, M. H. Dekker, G. W. Flower, W. R. James, U. Ranchod, A. H. Shah, A. J. Traicos.
Tour manager: M. A. Meman.
Test match - Played 1: Lost 1. One-day Internationals - Played 3: Lost 3.
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