Tour Match: Zimbabwe 'A' v England XI at Harare, 1 Oct 2001
John Ward
CricInfo.com

England XI innings: England lose Trescothick early, England in disarray, innings break,
Zimbabwe 'A' innings: 25 overs, England XI win,


ENGLAND XI WIN BY 138 RUNS IN HARARE

England opened their tour of Zimbabwe with a 138-run victory in their warm-up match against Zimbabwe A at the picturesque Alexandra Sports Club near the centre of Harare.

England won the toss and decided to bat under sunny skies. Zimbabwe A made an early breakthrough, as Pommie Mbangwa, ignored by the national selectors for the past year, slipped a slow yorker under the bat of Marcus Trescothick to bowl him for 4 in the first over.

Some rather profligate batting followed: Nick Knight (22) and Nasser Hussain (6) were both bowled going for big hits, while Mark Ramprakash (2) and Andrew Flintoff (1) were also caught indulging in misguided aggression. At 61 for five, it appeared that discretion did not feature in Englandís game plan, as Trescothick was the only batsman so far not to throw his wicket away. England had clearly not yet acclimatized, but all the more reason to look to spend time at the wicket.

Graham Thorpe and Ben Hollioake steadied the ship while keeping the singles coming. Their sensible batting showed what the other specialist batsmen could have done with greater application. They added 158 for the sixth wicket with much judicious running between wickets before Hollioake (61) hit Sean Ervine straight to mid-on to be caught; Thorpe followed in Ervineís next over for 95, holing out to long-on.

England were now 224 for seven in the 47th over. Jeremy Snape hit some lusty blows, including a flat six in the final over bowled by Dirk Viljoen, to finish with 27 not out.

Matthew Hoggard struck quickly for the tourists when Zimbabwe A batted, dismissing Guy Croxford (1) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (1) in his first two overs. Then James Kirtley stepped in, ripping through Doug Marillierís defences to bowl him for a single, and Zimbabwe A, who have excelled the national team at times for disastrous collapses, were 16 for three.

The experienced captain Gavin Rennie found assistance from Dirk Viljoen and a face-saving partnership looked in the offing until Trescothick came on to bowl and Viljoen immediately hit a long hop down to long leg. Flintoff misjudged it and then recovered to take a remarkable one-handed catch high above his head. Viljoen made 13, and Rennie soon followed, bowled by Snape for 28; Zimbabwe A 51 for five.

At least they did not collapse for one of their not uncommon two-figure scores, and Henry Olonga, strangely given only two overs of bowling earlier, brought up the hundred with a huge on-driven six off Ramprakash; he followed it with another off Snape to give the small Monday crowd some entertainment as the game quietly died. Six bowlers shared the wickets, with the accolade perhaps to Hoggard (2/9) for his early breakthrough.



ENGLAND SOON PUT THE MATCH BEYOND THE POINT OF NO RETURN FOR ZIMBABWE A

England soon put the match beyond the point of no return for Zimbabwe A, reducing them to 59 for five after 25 overs, with Barney Rogers on 6 and Tatenda Taibu on 3.

Matthew Hoggard struck quickly for the tourists, twice beating makeshift opener Guy Croxford for pace in the first over before having him caught at the wicket for one off the final delivery. In his next over he had Stuart Matsikenyeri (2) caught at midwicket unwisely trying to pull a ball that was too quick for him.

James Kirtley stepped in, ripping through Doug Marillierís defences to bowl him for a single, and Zimbabwe A, who have excelled the national team at times for disastrous collapses, were 16 for three. Their experienced captain Gavin Rennie held the innings together but England were annoyed not to have him given out caught at the wicket off Flintoff when 18.

Dirk Viljoen gave him good support and a face-saving partnership looked in the offing until Trescothick came on to bowl and he immediately hit a long hop down to long leg, where Flintoff misjudged it and then recovered to take a remarkable one-handed catch high above his head. Viljoen made 13, and Rennie soon followed, bowled by Snape for 28. At 51 for five in the 21st over, Zimbabwe A were worse off than England had been, and with less chance of recovery.



ENGLAND XI 262/8 OFF 50 OVERS

An enterprising but discriminating sixth-wicket partnership of 158 between Thorpe and Hollioake pulled England out of the mire from 61 for five, to guide them to a total of 262 for eight wickets, which should be enough to win the match.

Sensible batting showed what the other specialist batsmen could have done with greater application. Thorpe reached a fine fifty off 82 balls and the century partnership came up in the 40th over. He began to open out, overshadowing his normally more aggressive partner, and the overall scoring rate climbed to about five an over.

The pair added 158 for the sixth wicket before Hollioake (61) hit Sean Ervine straight to mid-on to be caught; Thorpe followed in Ervineís next over for 95, holing out to long-on. England were now 224 for seven in the 47th over. Jeremy Snape hit some lusty blows, including a flat six in the final over bowled by Dirk Viljoen, to finish with 27 not out.



ZIMBABWE A EMBARASS ENGLAND'S TOP ORDER

Some indiscreet batting by England saw them lose five wickets for 61 runs before Graham Thorpe and Ben Hollioake led a recovery. After 25 overs England were 89 for five.

Nick Knight and Nasser Hussain went for the runs, taking their chances, and luck was with them until Knight, driving at Hondo, lost his middle stump for 22.

Sean Ervine came on to bowl the next over and had an confident appeal for a catch at the wicket rejected first ball as Hussain dabbled outside the off stump; three balls later, he had a wild swing and was bowled for 16; England 50 for three, and it is not often the first three in the order are all clean bowled.

Mark Ramprakash (2) was next to go, swinging indiscriminately at a ball outside off stump to be caught at the wicket; it appeared that discretion did not feature in Englandís game plan as Trescothick was the only batsman so far not to throw his wicket away. England have clearly not yet acclimatized, but all the more reason to look to spend time at the wicket.

Andrew Flintoff (1) began cautiously, but then suddenly drilled a return catch to Dirk Viljoen, bowling his first over, and England were 61 for five.

Graham Thorpe (23 not out) and Ben Hollioake (8 not out) steadied the ship while keeping the singles coming.



ENGLAND WIN TOSS BUT LOSE TRESCOTHICK

England opened their tour of Zimbabwe with a warm-up match against Zimbabwe A at the picturesque Alexandra Sports Club near the centre of Harare. They won the toss and decided to bat under sunny skies.

Zimbabwe A made an early breakthrough, as Pommie Mbangwa, ignored by the national selectors for the past year, slipped a slow yorker under the bat of Marcus Trescothick to bowl him for 4 in the first over.

The teams were as follows:

Zimbabwe A: *Gavin Rennie, Doug Marillier, Sean Ervine, Barney Rogers, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Dirk Viljoen, Guy Croxford, +Tatenda Taibu, Henry Olonga, Douglas Hondo, Pommie Mbangwa.

England: Marcus Trescothick, Nick Knight, *Nasser Hussain, Mark Ramprakash, Graham Thorpe, Andrew Flintoff, Ben Hollioake, Jeremy Snape, +Jamie Foster, James Kirtley, Matthew Hoggard.

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Date-stamped : 01 Oct2001 - 18:34