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August 10, 2005
Zimbabwe will stick to the same batting line-up that crashed twice in one day in the first Test, according to Macsood Ebrahim, the convener of selectors. But the bowlers might be replaced, for he felt that they did not stick to their task.
Speaking to the Zimbabwe Herald, Ebrahim said, "We were expecting the back-up bowlers to keep pressure on the New Zealand batsmen but Chris Mpofu and Creamer were a big let down. They bowled the wrong line and too short and this allowed New Zealand to make 400."
However, the batsmen, who failed dismally for 59 and 99 (eight of the 20 batsmen to fall scored ducks), would not be replaced because there were no alternatives. . "I don't think there is anything we can do about the batting because, to be honest, what we had for the first Test is the best batting line-up we could come up with, something that we based on performances for Zimbabwe A against Pakistan A and also the Logan Cup.
"When we selected the team I thought we had come up with the second-best Test batting line-up since the days when we had the likes of Andy and Grant Flower, Neil Johnson and Murray Goodwin in the same team some years back. So it was very disappointing to see them perform so badly. We expected at least 300 in the first innings, which would have been acceptable."
He supported Tatenda Taibu's decision to bowl first because the pitch favoured seam movement, which the bowlers utilized first-up, but from then on things rapidly disintegrated for Zimbabwe. "I thought the decision by Taibu to bowl first was an excellent one because the conditions on Sunday morning favoured seam bowlers and the wicket looked best for batting from Day Two onwards. Blessing [Mahwire] and [Heath] Streak bowled beautifully in the first session and even the fielding looked very sharp. But things got horrendous in the last two sessions."
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