September 20, 2000

Interview with Guy Whittall

John Ward talks to Guy Whittall about the second day of the Test match against New Zealand at Harare Sports Club, after Zimbabwe replied to New Zealand's 465 all out with 31 for one.

JW (John Ward): So, Guy, it was obviously a long day in the field.

GW (Guy Whittall): Yes, obviously; I thought the guys bowled a lot better today, though. Streaky had a fantastic opening spell and was unlucky not to get a wicket. McMillan played him very well today, even though he only scored 15 he saw off the new ball and batted for the first two-hour session. Cairns was getting busy the other side, but old McMillan I thought batted extremely well, seeing off the new ball and setting it up, because this pitch flattens out. In the afternoon it's not nearly the same, but in the morning it does a bit. There was no turn in there for the spinners. Paul Strang and Grant Flower just got it on the spot and tried to contain them.

I don't think we could have done any more to contain them; Henry Olonga and Pom Mbangwa were quite tired. Pommie also came back with a very good spell. Henry bowled very quickly today and yesterday, and it's encouraging to see that he's back at full pace. It was a real test of character for everyone out there, trying to keep everyone going, and I think we stuck to our guns quite well, considering we were out there for two days and that's quite a good pitch to bat on. If we can try to bat like the Kiwis, with a lot of discipline, no rash shots, playing down the V. They just let us make the mistakes; every time we tried to take wickets, they just got the bad ball away. But it was encouraging to see from our bowlers that they handled it quite well.

Unfortunately `Syke' Nkala didn't bowl too well, but you can't put too much pressure on the guy; he's only 19 and he's the future all-rounder for the country, and he' had a few injury problems, a lot of blisters on his feet, I think, and he's holding back a bit for fear of it. He'll come through it; he's got a good future.

JW: And throughout the innings as a whole, which of the New Zealand batsmen impressed you the most?

GW: Well, I thought Richardson set it up very well for them yesterday. He's got a lot of composure, his technique is quite sound and he just had his game together and had a good mind-set. Nathan Astle has always got runs against us, does well against us, but it was a relief that he didn't go on to his hundred. He was looking quite good. Chris Cairns I thought played it in a positive way as he had a game plan; he's played on this pitch before and he was quick on the short balls; he did try and go over the top, he didn 't want to be caught on the crease.

JW: A bit of a worrying last session for our batsman.

GW: Well, Grant Flower had a long day in the field, and it's always going to be quite hard for a batsman when you've been two days in the field to come out and bat in that last hour, and I thought they did very well. So that was encouraging.

It was quite a boring day of cricket, where both teams were trying to outdo the other in patience! But they've got a good first innings and they' ll want to capitalise on it.