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The Bulletin by Cricinfo staff
August 8, 2005
If yesterday at Edgbaston had been Test cricket at its very best, then today's hopelessly one-sided farce was it at its worst - that it was even labelled as Test cricket was bordering on the ridiculous. It has to be assumed that the Trade Descriptions Act doesn't apply in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe have had many wretched days on the international stage in the last year or so, but at Harare Sports Club today, they plumbed a depth that was spectacular even by their rapidly declining standards.
They were bowled out by New Zealand twice inside a day, only the second side to suffer such a fate. The other were India at Manchester in 1952, but they were caught cold on a miserable and damp Old Trafford track which suited England's bowlers. Zimbabwe had no such excuses. They were at home, and the conditions were not that one-sided.
New Zealand did what they had to efficiently and clinically, but few of Zimbabwe's batsmen troubled them and, more worryingly, few looked to be remotely good enough technically to survive at this level. New Zealand barely broke sweat, not that they had to.
After declaring overnight, New Zealand unleashed Shane Bond and James Franklin. Bond showed impressive pace from his first ball, which rose and flew off Neil Ferreira's gloves over the keeper's head to the boundary. The die was cast.
In the fourth over, Franklin had Ferreira caught at the wicket and he then trapped Dion Ebrahim and only a no-ball stood between him and a hat-trick as he had Hamilton Masakadza plumb leg before. Both batsmen's footwork was questionable and both prodded half-forward. Next over Craig Wishart unwisely shouldered arms to a ball from Bond that cut back viciously off the pitch, and at 11 for 4 the innings was in shreds.
Chris Martin also found movement to take three wickets in the middle order, with Stuart Carlisle (20 not out) standing alone as the tail collapsed around him; his was a fine but utterly futile rearguard. Daniel Vettori picked up the last two wickets immediately after lunch - his first-day hundred and six wickets in the match won him the Man-of-the-Match award. Zimbabwe's only solace was that they just about passed their previous low - 54 against South Africa in March.
Second time round, they started with a little more fight, although Brendan Taylor soon drove uppishly and was caught at short extra cover without scoring. That he was playing at all was a sign of Zimbabwe's desperation. A month or so ago he was slapped with a six-month ban for disciplinary offences. But the cupboard is so bare that he was quickly forgiven and brought back. His was virtually the only attacking stroke to be played in the first 10 overs, as Ferreira and Ebrahim played with great application, but as they ventured out of their shells, the wickets again started to tumble.
After tea Ferreira (16) seemed to lose his nerve, and played a couple of uncharacteristically risky strokes before he dabbed feebly outside the off stump at a ball from Franklin and provided Stephen Fleming with the first of three successive catches. The others were Wishart (5) and Carlisle (0), both softened up by short balls from Bond and then driving loosely outside off stump.
What resistance there was was provided by Masakadza (42), who drove and pulled in impressive fashion, the only Zimbabwe batsman in the match to take the attack to the bowlers with any success. He had scored half the total of 84 when he tried to chip a drive on the leg side and had a leading edge well caught overhead by Vettori off his own bowling.
As New Zealand closed for the kill, they got a stroke of luck as Vettori took his 200th Test wicket in dubious circumstances, Heath Streak adjudged leg before by Darrell Hair despite a thick inside-edge apparent to all but the umpire.
It is hard to see where Zimbabwe go from here. For the first time in 16 months they fielded their full-strength side, and yet the defeat was as one-sided as any they have suffered in that period. Their bowling lacked penetration and their batting at times would have embarrassed a good club side.
In such hard times, world cricket has to be seen to support Zimbabwe. But there is an argument, which few who witnessed today would counter, that the time has come for a change of tack and a rethink about what is being achieved by ploughing on regardless. Nobody benefited from this massacre, and the pitiful attendance showed that even the locals have tired of such wretched fare. This was a match of interest to nobody but the statisticians.
Neil Ferreira c McCullum b Franklin 5 (9 for 1)
Edged ball moving away to the keeper
Dion Ebrahim lbw b Franklin 0 (9 for 2)
Ball moved in from bowler around the wicket, beat bat and trapped him plumb
Hamilton Masakadza lbw b Franklin 0 (10 for 3)
Lbw to ball moving in
Craig Wishart b Bond 0 (11 for 4)
Shouldered arms, bowled by ball moving sharply back off pitch
Brendan Taylor run out (Styris) 10 (28 for 5)
Backing up, run out through accidental deflection on to stumps off bowler's hand
Tatenda Taibu lbw b Martin 5 (46 for 6)
Padded up to big inswinger, lbw outside the line playing no shot
Heath Streak c McCullum b Martin 0 (46 for 7)
Rash slash outside off stump first ball, simple edge to keeper
Blessing Mahwire lbw b Martin 4 (51 for 8)
Played outside full-length inswinger
Graeme Cremer c Martin b Vettori 1 (53 for 9)
Top-edged sweep, good catch by short fine-leg running round
Chris Mpofu st McCullum b Vettori 0 (59 all out)
Stretched forward and beaten with back foot on line
Zimbabwe second innings
Brendan Taylor c Vettori b Franklin 0 (5 for 1)
Drove low to short extra-cover
Dion Ebrahim b Martin 8 (14 for 2)
Ball jagged in, late on stroke
Neil Ferreira c Fleming b Franklin 16 (53 for 3)
Feeble dab outside off stump, simple catch to first slip
Craig Wishart c Fleming b Bond 5 (76 for 4)
Loose drive outside off stump, caught first slip
Stuart Carlisle c Fleming b Bond 0 (80 for 5)
Ditto; loose drive outside off stump, caught first slip
Hamilton Masakadza c and b Vettori 42 (84 for 6)
Tried to chip ball against spin to leg, leading edge
Heath Streak lbw b Vettori 3 (90 for 7)
Given out, although replays showed an edge
Tatenda Taibu c Fleming b Martin 4 (90 for 8)
Good ball outside off stump, first slip again
Graeme Cremer c James Marshall b Vettori 3 (99 for 9)
Extra bounce took shoulder of bat, lobbed to silly point
Christopher Mpofu st McCullum b Vettori 0 (99 all out)
Wild swing, missed, did not get foot down in time
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?