England bat on "excellent" pitch
On an overcast morning, England won the toss in the second match of the triangular NatWest Series and decided to bat. The pitch was expected to be excellent for batting and some high scoring could be in prospect.
Zimbabwe made one change to the team that scored an upset win over West Indies at Bristol on Thursday. Heath Streak is still unfit, but Paul Strang replaced Mluleki Nkala, a spinning all-rounder for a pace-bowling one. From their advertised twelve, England omitted Craig White and Vikram Solanki, bringing in left-arm seamer Alan Mullally instead.
The Zimbabwean victory has certainly brought this series alive, proving to the doubters that it is no two-horse race. The Zimbabweans rarely pull off two victories in a row, but they are even less consistent than England and no match result can be taken for granted. England appear to have thoroughly overcome their hoodoo against Zimbabwe in one-day cricket, beating the African side on their home territory last winter by three victories to nil, and both sides have six victories to their credit now in matches between the two. On home soil, England are favourites to take the lead, but Zimbabwe should never be written off.
The teams are as follows:
England: Marcus Trescothick, Alec Stewart (capt), Matthew Maynard, Graeme Hick, Graham Thorpe, Andy Flintoff, Mark Ealham, Robert Croft, Andy Caddick, Darren Gough, Alan Mullally.
Zimbabwe: Neil Johnson, Craig Wishart, Murray Goodwin, Alistair Campbell, Andy Flower (capt), Grant Flower, Guy Whittall, Dirk Viljoen, Paul Strang, Bryan Strang, Gary Brent.