Test Match

Zimbabwe v India

Toss: India. Test debuts: N. C. Johnson; A. B. Agarkar, R. R. Singh.

Zimbabwe's second Test victory came after an enthralling match where the balance continually shifted, especially near the end. Their success caught Harare by surprise: until the final moments, on the fourth day, the crowd never numbered more than a few hundred. But those present shared the delight of their team, who played with a passion and rare self-belief. The victory earned a brief mention on the front page of The Herald, which has little interest in cricket.

Zimbabwe had begun that final day 160 runs ahead with eight second-innings wickets in hand. There was much speculation as to when Campbell should declare, but his batsmen never gave him the chance. On a pitch offering both turn and bounce, those last eight wickets fell before lunch, with only Andy Flower standing firm. This left India's powerful line-up a target of only 235. Before taking the field, Campbell emphasised to his team that they were not going out merely to compete, but to win. And this they proceeded to do, spearheaded by Streak and Olonga, a pair of Test-class pace bowlers. Four wickets tumbled for 37 before Dravid and Ganguly rallied, as they had done in the first innings. Once they were separated, the end was swift, though Srinath and Harbhajan Singh caused a few anxious flutters during a lusty last-wicket stand. Throughout the game, Campbell used his bowlers effectively in short spells.

Zimbabwe's chief worry before the match had been replacing Grant Flower, but the makeshift opening pair of Rennie and Wishart came up trumps. Rennie made the top score in both innings with sound and judicious batting, and looked set for a maiden Test century in the second before edging a ball on to his helmet. He was forced to retire, and on his return next morning was caught at forward short leg first ball.

The openers, plus Goodwin, had given Zimbabwe a good start on the first day before the middle order collapsed. The Indian catching was superb, especially by Dravid and 35-year-old Robin Singh, making his Test debut after 60 one-day internationals over nearly ten years. Only unexpected help from Huckle and Olonga, neither of whom had scored a Test run on home soil before, pushed the score beyond 200. Kumble's dismissal of Mbwanga to end the innings was his 200th wicket in 47 Tests. India's first innings also faltered, but Dravid mixed defence with stylish strokeplay to reach a determined century, enabling the tourists to take a lead of 59. Zimbabwe made an even better start to their second innings and appeared to have the upper hand on the third evening - but this was only the prelude to the dramatic final day. Andy Flower became ther first player to pass 2,000 Test runs for Zimbabwe, an honour snatched from his brother Grant who was nine runs short when he broke his finger before the tour.

© John Wisden & Co