March 2, 2002

Mashonaland A dominate the second day in Harare

Mashonaland A dominated the second day's play of their match against CFX Academy at Country Club, despite the failure of their lower-order batting in the morning. At the close the Academy were four runs short of avoiding the follow-on with two wickets left.

Mashonaland A added only three runs to their overnight 326 for five before losing Norbert Manyande (23). The determined little man with the crouching stance and protruding posterior was comprehensively yorked by Jordane Nicolle. Shepherd Makunura spent a while uncomfortably making one before he was caught at the wicket off Pete Rinke, while David Mutendera (3) was bowled trying to pull a ball from the same bowler, presumably in an effort to remove the short-leg fielder.

Mark Vermeulen in the meantime struggled with his timing early on, his desperation even leading him to run two threes in quick succession, an unheard-of experience from him. He added only 11 runs in almost an hour before finally being caught at the wicket off Rinke for 180, the third time in his career he has come close to a double-century without getting there.

Amos Maungwa (1) was yorked by Nicolle and the innings finished at 346, with Henry Olonga unbeaten with 3. The last five wickets fell for just 20 runs in 57 minutes. Nicolle finished with three for 58 and Rinke four for 72.

Maungwa worked up a good pace with the ball, although his action has been questioned in some quarters, and trapped Neetan Chouhan lbw for 4 with a full-length delivery. Vusi Sibanda lived dangerously, but played some impressive strokes before being caught at the wicket off Manyande for 21, while Olonga trapped the slow-moving opener Innocent Chinyoka lbw for 4. The Academy were struggling at 35 for three, and more difficulties faced them in the afternoon.

Hoffman (21) was looking good after lunch until he was given out lbw to Manyande, departing the crease with the greatest reluctance. Conan Brewer, after a very slow start, was beginning to open up when he pulled one of Andre Neethling's innocent-looking leg-spinners down the throat of long leg, to depart for 13 and leave his team in further trouble at 78 for five.

Runs were at a premium as Guy Goosen and Pete Rinke strove to stem the collapse. During the tea interval, Country Club caught the edge of a heavy but fairly isolated shower. The recent dry period meant that the ground dried quickly and 55 minutes were lost before play restarted.

Afterwards Goosen and Rinke played with exaggerated caution at times, against a gentle spin attack of Neethling and Vermeulen, later joined by Shepherd Makunura; perhaps the run-ups were considered too damp for seamers but the players, not yet steeped in the attitudes of professional cricketers, wanted to play. The left-handed Goosen reached his fifty off 125 balls and then after a few bold shots holed out to mid-on off Makunura for 65.

The bowling was frankly atrocious, with full tosses and long hops almost stock deliveries, but the batsmen wasted probably their best-ever chance of a free lunch in (officially) first-class cricket. Arnold Rushambwa (6) managed to drag a pull on to his stumps and, with the pace bowlers finally on again, Maungwa trapped Allan Mwayenga (0) lbw.

The Academy's last two wickets needed to score 12 runs to avoid the follow-on, and by the close Pete Rinke (36) and Nyasha Chari (4) had scored eight of them.