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Zimbabwe v India

A brief history

Dave Houghton and Mohammad Azharuddin shake hands ahead of the Zimbabwe's first Test © Getty Images
1992-93 (Zimbabwe)
This was Zimbabwe’s inaugural Test, and they set up a number of records, to the embarrassment of India. They became the first country (apart from Australia in the first-ever Test) to avoid defeat in their inaugural Test; Dave Houghton became the first player to score a century on his country’s debut, apart from Charles Bannerman (Australia), and the first captain to score a debut century; they also recorded the highest total (456) and the highest partnerships, with century stands for the first and sixth wickets. Traicos played for Zimbabwe 22 years and 222 days after playing for South Africa, while Dickie Bird became the first international umpire appointed under National Grid Sponsorship, and for the first time two home umpires officiated in turn at the other end. A dogged century (500 minutes) from Manjrekar saved India from following on, although they conceded a 149-run deficit, and from possible defeat. Zimbabwe lost the solitary ODI with honour, going down by 30 runs.
Tests Zimbabwe 0, India 0
ODIs Zimbabwe 0, India 1

1992-93 (India)
This was Zimbabwe’s first Test abroad, at Delhi, and although they lost by an innings, it was with honour, and for the first time the Flower brothers were brought to the attention of the cricket world. Kambli amassed 227, his second successive double-century, as his team declared at 536 for seven. Zimbabwe looked capable of forcing a draw when the Flowers (Grant 96, Andy 115) shared a stand of 192, batting well into the fourth day, but then the Indian spinners broke through and India were able to enforce the follow-on and win the match. Kumble took eight wickets in the match and Maninder Singh seven. India won all three one-day internationals by convincing margins.
Tests India 1, Zimbabwe 0
ODIs India 3, Zimbabwe 0

1998-99 (Zimbabwe)
Surprisingly, it was almost six years before the next tour between the two countries, and again only one Test match was played. This season was Zimbabwe’s best in international cricket, when they also defeated Pakistan away, and they won an exciting but rather low-scoring Test match in Harare. India took a lead of 59 on first innings, thanks to a century from Dravid, and were eventually set 235 to win. They were expected to complete the job, but fine bowling from Streak and Olonga reduced them to 37 for four and they never recovered. Zimbabwe’s victory was all the more creditable as they were missing four key players, while India were at full strength. India had begun their tour well, with eight-wicket victories in the first two ODIs, before Zimbabwe fought back to win the third.
Tests Zimbabwe 1, India 0
ODIs Zimbabwe 1, India 2

This was a batting series in which both teams scored heavily; it also saw the start of Andy Flower’s golden year of form in Test cricket. He began with 183 not out in Delhi, putting on an unbeaten 97 for the last wicket with Olonga before Streak, the captain, made a declaration he was to regret. India surpassed Zimbabwe’s 422, with Dravid scoring 200 not out and Tendulkar 122, declared with four wickets down and bowled Zimbabwe out for 225, Srinath taking five wickets. This was the only innings of the series where the bowlers prevailed; India romped home by seven wickets. At Nagpur there were centuries from Das, Dravid again and Tendulkar again (201 not out) before the declaration at 609. Zimbabwe had to follow on, but Andy Flower’s 232 saved the match for them; it was then the highest score ever made by a wicketkeeper in Test cricket. In the ODI series, Zimbabwe scraped home with a thrilling one-wicket victory in the third match, but India won the other four; only in the fourth match did Zimbabwe fail to compete.
Tests India 1, Zimbabwe 0
ODIs India 4, Zimbabwe 1

2001 (Zimbabwe)
Again India failed to win an away series, although favoured to do so. This was the first tour to be made during the Zimbabwe winter, with Zimbabwe’s first home triangular tournament sandwiched between Test series against India and West Indies. Zimbabwe virtually lost the Bulawayo Test on the first day when they slumped to 173 all out, but India were made to fight before their eventual eight-wicket victory. Then came another tense battle in Harare, India’s hoodoo ground. India paid the penalty of undisciplined batting when they were bowled out for 237 on the first day; after a poor start, Zimbabwe led them by 78 on first innings. India were fighting back well in their second innings before Streak and Blignaut brought about a collapse, leaving Zimbabwe 157 to win. With Andy Flower injured, it was a tense battle, but a superb fighting innings of 62 not out from Stuart Carlisle saw them home by four wickets. In the one-day series India convincingly won all four qualifying matches, only to lose surprisingly to West Indies in the final.
Tests Zimbabwe 1, India 1
ODIs Zimbabwe 0, India 2 (lost in final of triangular tournament to West Indies)

2001-02 (India)
The newly introduced ICC Test programme brought the two teams together in a similar series to the one they had played in India just over a year earlier — and the Indian Board unaccountably chose the same Test venues of Delhi and Nagpur. Despite a background of turmoil and strife with the administrators back home, the Zimbabwe team fought back well after a poor start to their tour, although an unsettled Andy Flower never found his best form. They lost the Nagpur Test easily by an innings, against centuries from Das, Tendulkar and Bangar. At Delhi they were only 25 behind on first innings, despite 136 from Ganguly, but could only set India 122 to win. They made them only after a tense struggle, getting home by four wickets. The series was dominated by spinners: Kumble took 16 wickets in the two matches, Harbhajan Singh 12, and Zimbabwe’s left-arm spinner Raymond Price took 10, including Tendulkar three times. The one-day series was exciting, with Zimbabwe twice taking the lead before losing in the deciding match. Their first victory was remarkable, with Marillier taking them home by one wicket with a 21-ball fifty as the last two wickets put on 67.
Tests India 2, Zimbabwe 0
ODIs India 3, Zimbabwe 2

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