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Ebrahim hammers claim for Test place

Zimbabwe Board XI 265 for 7 (Ebrahim 163* Dabengwa 40*, Kumble 3-42) v Indians

India's Test squad were provided with unexpectedly stiff opposition by a Zimbabwe Board XI at this small border town close to Mozambique on the first day of a three-day match.
Hamilton Mazakadsa, the Zimbabwe Board XI captain, won the toss and decided to bat in the match which is being used by both sides as a warm-up for the first Test in Bulawayo starting next Tuesday.

Dion Ebrahim, who was dropped for the one-day international against India last Sunday, made a strong case for inclusion in the Test team by scoring an almost faultless unbeaten 163. He came in at 16 for 2 and hit a six and 25 fours, and was at the wicket for all but the first half hour of the day.

He has been out of form in recent weeks and in any event is generally regarded as a marginal player, but he is much more suited to the longer game, being able to take his time, which his natural style. He bailed the hosts out of a tight spot with a 94-run sixth wicket stand with Sean Williams who made only 10, and later he had an entertaining unbeaten 80-run partnership with Keith Dabengwa, who finished the day on 40.

India fielded their regular Test squad with the exception of Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra, who returned home with a muscle problem in his buttocks and was replaced by Ajit Agarkar.