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Cricinfo special correspondent in Harare
October 18, 2005
Kenya 214 (Ouma 78) and 142 for 4 (Tikolo 54) lead Zimbabwe A 171 (Onyango 5-36) by 185 runs
Kenya ended the second day of their tour match against Zimbabwe A at Harare Sports Club in a strong position, leading by 185 runs with six second-innings wickets in hand. On a pitch which both teams have expressed considerable concern about, ZImbabwe A will struggle to chase anything over 200 on the final day.
Indeed, this fixture was moved from the Harare Academy ground, the venue for the first two games between these sides, because the surface there was so poor. Despite this being the main international ground in Zimbabwe, the pitch was nothing short of disgraceful.
Yesterday, Maurice Ouma's gutsy 78 provided the foundation for Kenya's 214 made from 76 overs. Zimbabwe resumed today on 17 for 1, but struggled with the conditions and were bowled out for 171 in 56 overs, conceding a lead of 45. Lameck Onyango was the pick of Kenya's bowlers with 5 for 36 and Mohammad Sheikh weighed in with 3 for 20.
Kenya extended that lead, closing on 142 for 4, with Steve Tikolo, who has struggled for runs on this tour to date, making his mark with 54 and Ouma chipping in with 32. Much will depend on Collins Obuya and Thomas Odoyo, the not out batsmen, and if they and the tail can extend the lead and bat through to lunch, Kenya will be in with a good chance of recording a remarkable clean sweep.
As on Saturday, Zimbabwe A resembled their full-strength side, and although Heath Streak was absent, they were bolstered by the return of Tatenda Taibu to lead the team. But much of the time the Zimbabweans seemed distracted by the growing row over their letter to the board requesting the reinstatement of Phil Simmons as coach. Yet again, what was going on in the middle appeared to be secondary to the off-field dramas.
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