Sixth match

VB Series

Soumya Bhattacharya

At Brisbane, January 20, 2004 (day/night). India won by 24 runs. India 5 pts, Zimbabwe 1 pt. Toss: India.

India stumbled en route to victory in a game they found more problematic than expected, and Zimbabwe picked up their first point of the series. But the game was overshadowed by a horrific injury to Vermeulen, who suffered a hairline fracture of the skull for the second time in a year: he had suffered a similar injury in the nets at the World Cup ten months earlier. Vermeulen topedged a ball from Pathan on to his head: it squeezed between his helmet and visor and he had to undergo a three-and-a-half-hour operation to reconstruct the impact area above his right eye. India were without Tendulkar, who had injured his ankle in the win against Australia, and were in some trouble before Dravid and Yuvraj Singh rebuilt the innings with a stand of 114 in 24 overs, helping India to a respectable, if gettable, total. Zimbabwe then stumbled too, lurching to 148 for six -effectively seven after Vermeulen was hurt. Ervine and Ebrahim kept Zimbabwe in the game but could not quite sustain the pace. Dravid was fined half his match fee for rubbing a cough lozenge on to the shiny side of the ball. John Wright, India's coach, maintained it was "an innocent mistake".

Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh. Attendance: 9,638.

© John Wisden & Co