Afro-Asian U19 Tournament Confirmed

Afro-Asian Cricket Co-operation have announced their plans for an Under-19 tournament. involving India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The tournament will be held in the Indian city of Vishakapatnam from 19-27 November, and is intended as a warm-up for next year's U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. The tournament will be played in a round-robin format, before a final on 27 November.

A similar tournament involving 'A' teams is being planned for early 2006.

Zimbabwe -vs- India: 2nd Test Roundup

Plenty of coverage of the 2nd Test to wade through, with criticism being shared fairly evenly between the two sides - India for not tying the series up even more quickly than they did, and Zimbabwe for some woeful batting performances. Read on for more...

Zimbabwe -vs- India, 2nd Test, Day 3

Day 3 of the 2nd Test, although realistically miracles were required if it wasn't to be the final day. Heath Streak and Hamilton Masakadza resumed on 39/4 with Zimbabwe's sixth consecutive innings defeat looking more than likely - 166 runs were needed to make India bat again. Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan opened the Indian bowling, with an offensive field set in an attempt to wrap the match up quickly.

42/5 Streak, 8, caught by Laxman at second slip off Zaheer Khan on the 4th ball of the morning
Missed run-out chance at 52/5 - Coventry survives when an easy run-out ball is fumbled by Pathan
85/6 Coventry, 25, caught at mid-on by Ganguly off Pathan
Blignaut dropped at 2nd slip by Jadev (substitute fielder) on 117/6, again by Sehwag at 3rd slip on the next ball, and again behind by Karthik on the ball after that. It seems a higher power has decided Blignaut's time isn't up yet, and bowler Zaheer Khan would not have been a happy man
201/7 Masakadza, 71, end of a defiant innings as he's caught lbw off Pathan
201/8 Dabengwa, 0, outside edge to Karthik off Pathan
202/9 Mawhire, 0, given lbw off Kumble - unlucky as the ball appeared to be going down leg side
223/10 Mwayenga, 1, lbw off Zaheer Khan - fair enough call this time

Some very positive batting from Coventry, Masakadza and Blignaut saved some of Zimbabwe's blushes and made sure India had to bat again, but the tail followed the example of the top-order and fell quickly before a decent lead could be built.

Zimbabwe best: Andy Blignaut (84*), Hamilton Masakadza (71)
Partnerships: Masakadza/Blignaut (116), Masakadza/Coventry (43)
India best: Irfan Pathan (5/76 from 19 overs), Zaheer Khan (4/58 from 19 overs)

With only 19 runs needed for victory the result was never in doubt. Gambhir and Sehwag clocked up the required runs in just 2.2 overs (Sehwag 14*, Gambir 1*, 4 extras) and that was the end of proceedings. Post-match commentary has focused more on the deficiencies in India's performance than on Zimbabwe, who proved in places that they can play Test cricket when pushed - just not for a full match at a time. More commentary on that in the match roundup tomorrow. In the meantime, India return home with their first series win in Zimbabwe and their first series win away from home since 1986.

Zimbabwe 161 & 223, India 366 & 19/0
India win by 10 wickets
India win series 2-0

Full Scorecard: BBC Sport

Zimbabwe -vs- India, 2nd Test, Day 2

India resumed on 195/1, in complete control of the match and with Zimbabwe staring yet another innings defeat in the face. Mawhire and Streak opened the bowling for the day, with an early wicket needed to give the home team any chance of getting back into the game.

198/2 Gambhir, 97, edged to Taibu off Mawhire and giving Zimbabwe the early breakthrough they needed
219/3 Laxman, 8, caught lbw off streak
245/3 Ganguly, 16, another top edge to Taibu, this time off Mwayenga
306/5 Singh, 25, clean bowled by Streak, swinging in to remove off stump
306/6 Dravid, 98, leg stump torn out by another swinging delivery from Mawhire
318/7 Karthik, 1, played onto middle stump off Streak
342/8 Kumble, 8, top edge to Ebrahim at first slip off Streak
361/9 Pathan, 32, hooked to Coventry in the deep, again off Streak's bowling
366/10 Khan, 3, nicked behind to Taibu off Blignaut

Much better work from the Zimbabwean bowlers today, especially Heath Streak, who seemed determined not to let Irfan Pathan hog the bowling limelight. The Indian lead of 205 over Zimbabwe's first innings total is achievable, assuming Zimbabwe put in a decent batting performance, although a home win still looks impossible. India have a past history of batting collapses in Harare - it's one of the reasons they've never won a series in Zimbabwe - and history repeated itself here.

India best: Dravid (98), Gambhir (97)
Partnerships: Gambhir/Dravid (123), Gambhir/Sehwag (75)
Zimbabwe best: Streak (6/73 off 32 overs), Mawhire (2/86 off 26 overs)

And so to Zimbabwe's 2nd innings. Opening batsmen again were Brendan Taylor and Terence Duffin, while dangerman Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan opened the bowling for India.

13/1 Duffin, 10, edged to Dravid at first slip as Pathan strikes again
18/2 Taylor, 4, lbw off Pathan - the ball hit Taylor very high on the pads while he was jumping and looked to be going over the stumps, but umpire Daryll Harper raised his finger and that was the end of that
18/3 Ebrahim, 3, tried to drive and only sent it into the hands of Yuvraj - caught near the ground off Zaheer Khan
21/4 Taibu, 1, nicked to Kumble for a low catch at gully off Zaheer Khan<

By close of play Zimbabwe has progressed to 39/4, with Hamilton Masakadza (11*) and Heath Streak (6*) being the men still standing. Yet again the top order have been unable to handle the way India have been able to make the new ball swing, and have paid the price in early wickets. At this rate, day three should close out the game for India.

Zimbabwe 161 & 39/4 at close, India 366
India lead by 166

Full Scorecard: BBC Sport

Zimbabwe -vs- India, 2nd Test, Day One

India won toss & elected to bowl, one change to the Zimbabwe lineup (test debut for Waddington Mwayenga, replacing Gavin Ewing), no changes for India.

4/1 Taylor, 4, top edge to Dravid at slip on the 3rd ball of the game from Irfan Pathan
31/2 Duffin, 12, caught in the slip cordon by Laxman, again off that man Pathan
31/3 Taibu, 0, caught behind after edging it to Karthik on his second ball faced, off Pathan once more
31/4 Ebrahim, 14, brilliant flying catch from Karthik as Zaheer takes his first wicket
75/5 Streak, 14, nicked to short leg and caught by Gambhir off Harbhajan Singh
83/6 Masakadza, 27, caught lbw as Pathan strikes again
122/7 Blignaut, 13, edged to Karthik off that man Pathan
136/8 Coventry, 37, edged to the slips & Dravid, Pathan again
138/9 Mawhire, 1, trapped lbw by guess who - Pathan
161/10 Dabengwa, 18, Zimbabwe's resistance ends as an attempted drive succeeeds only in edging to Laxman in the slip cordon, again off Pathan

The real problem here is that none of the Zimbabweans managed to hang around for a significant period of time - a number of promising starts were made, but Irfan Pathan almost single-handedly made sure that none of those starts were allowed to develop. The low first-innings score of 161 handed an immediate advantage to India, and the sports writers were readying their pens for another series of scathing match reports.

Zimbabwe best: Coventry (37), Masakadza (27)
India best: Pathan (7/59 form 15.2 overs), Harbhajan Singh (2/45 from 11 overs)

And so to the Indian first innings. Gambhir and Sehwag opened, looking to continue where India left off in the first Test and build a sizeable Indian total.

75/1 Sehwag, 44, caught behind by Taibu off Streak

At close of play, India were 195/1, a lead of 34, and look set to end their winless run at Harare Sports Club. Intervention from the God of Unlikely Comebacks will be required if Zimbabwe are to salvage anything from here.

Zimbabwe 161, India 195/1 at close

Full Scorecard: BBC Sport

Zimbabwe -vs- India, 1st Test: India Win by Innings and 90 Runs

Zimbabwe resumed at 67/6, with Blignaut taking the field to start the day's play. With Zimbabwe needing to bat at least the full day to have any hope of saving the game but their batting in tatters from the previous day, this looked set to be a short day's play. Fortunately, Taibu and Blignaut decided to take the game to India and played agressively from the start, so at least it was interesting to watch.

110/7 Blignaut, 26, bowled Harbhajan Singh, ball slipped between bat & pad into middle stump
130/8 Taibu, 52, gloved to Karthik off Kumble
138/9 Dabengwa, 16, lbw from Harbhajan Singh
185/10 Ewing, 34, again trapped lbw by Harbhajan Singh

The bottom of the Zimbabwe batting order again showed the top how it should be done, but sadly it was too little too late to save the game, giving India the win by a significant margin. The 2nd Test starts on Tuesday 20th - hopefully Zimbabwe's playing skills will turn up for the full match then.

Zimbabwe best: Taibu (52), Ewing (34)
Partnerships: Ewing/Mawhire (47), Taibu/Blignaut (43)
India best: Pathan (4/53 from 12 overs), Harbhjan Singh (4/59 from 15.5)

Zimbabwe 279 & 185, India 554
India win by a innings and 90 runs

Full scorecard: BBC Sport

ZC Changes to Selectors 'Unconstitutional'

CricInfo reports that ZC's appointment of a new selection panel earlier in the week may be declared unconstitutional, as the committee meeting at which the appointments were decided fell short of a quorum under ZC rules.

Source: CricInfo

WICB Announce Schedule for Zimbabwe Tour

The West Indies Cricket Board have announced the schedule for Zimbabwe's tour of the region in April and May next year. The series will include the first day/night ODI to be played in the West Indies.

April 15-17  	Chancellors XI  	UWI, Barbados
April 20-24 	1st Test 	        Guyana
April 28-May 2 	2nd Test 	        Trinidad
May 4 	        Practice Match 	        Trinidad
May 6 	        1st ODI 	        Trinidad
May 7 	        2nd ODI 	        Trinidad
May 10 	        3rd ODI 	        St Lucia (day/night match)
May 13 	        4th ODI         	Antigua
May 14   	5th ODI         	Antigua

Zimbabwe -vs- India, 1st Test, Day Three

India resumed on 325/3, a lead of 46.
356/4 Laxman, 140, run out by Streak after an appalling mix-up - called for a quick single but Ganguly stayed put, caught a long way short of his crease
372/5 Singh, 12, bowled, played and missed off Dabengwa, slipped between bat and pad to remove the bails
379/6 Karthik, 1, edged to Taibu from Blignaut's bowling, a brilliant catch jumping far to his right, just taken with one hand
476/7 Pathan, 52, caught and bowled by Dabengwa after top-edging - an easy catch for the bowler
502/8 Ganguly, 101, caught by Duffin off Ewing on the first ball after reaching his 100
522/9 Kumble, 17, caught at long off by Coventry from Dabengwa
554/10 Singh, 37, again caught by Coverty at long off, this time from Mawhire

Better luck with the bowling for Zimbabwe today, although they were still left with a mountain to climb, needing 276 to avoid an innings defeat, never mind force a draw. Recent batting performances, while reasonable, make that look unlikely.

India best: Laxman (140), Ganguly (101)
Partnerships: Dravid/Laxman (130), Laxman/Ganguly (128)
Zimbabwe best: Mawhire (4/92 from 25.3), Dabengwa (3/127 from 39)

As with the first innings, Zimbabwe went with Taylor and Duffin, while India's bowling attack opened with Pathan and Khan.
4/1 Taylor, 4, lbw off Pathan and the worst possible start for Zimbabwe
9/2 Masakadza, 2, caught at gully by Kumble from Pathan
9/3 Duffin, 2, off stump sent flying by a turning delivery from Khan - no repeat of Duffin's first-innings heroics, sadly
16/4 Ebrahim, 1, played & missed from Pathan, ball hitting top of off stump
18/5 Streak, 0, lbw from Pathan on his first delivery faced, big step forward with no stroke offered
67/6 Coventry, 24, caught Gambhir off Harbhajan after popping an inside edge to short leg

Coventry's exit was the final act of the day. This was a depressingly familiar batting collapse that turned the game from reasonably competitive to yet another disappointing defeat - it seems Zimbabwe still need to work on the concept of playing well for a full match. If you're a "glass half full" type, at least this match made a fourth day, but it will take some true heroics to prevent India from wrapping things up early in the morning.

Full scorecard: BBC Sport

Zimbabwe -vs- India, 1st Test, Day Two

Zimbabwe resumed at 265/7, but only lasted 5.3 overs.
269/8 Dabengwa, 35, caught by Laxman after edging to second slip off Pathan. This was a record 8th-wicket partnership of 59 for Zimbabwe against India
269/9 Ewing, 0, out first ball lbw off Pathan, leaving Pathan on a hat-trick
279/10 Mawhire, 4, clean bowled by Pathan

Zimbabwe best: Taibu (71*), Duffin (56)
India best: Pathan (5/58 from 18.l5), Khan (3/74 from 22)
Partnerships: Duffin/Ebrahim 74, Taibu/Streak 69, Taibu/Dabengwa 59.
Zimbabwe will be disappointed not to have passed the 300 mark, but overall this was a good batting performance.

For India, Gambhir and Sehwag opened the batting, facing Streak and Mawhire. Sehwag dropped on 5 by Dabengwa (22/0), although it was a difficult chance.
88/1 Sehwag, 44, bowled Mawhire (played and missed, hit between centre & leg stump)
98/2 Gambhir, 46, caught by Taylor at first slip off Mawhire
228/3 Dravid, 77, caught Taylor off Mawhire, edged to slip

At close of play India were on 325/3 (Laxman 125*, Ganguly 23*), and had definitely had the better of the day's play. Zimbabwe's limited bowling attack was clearly not up to the job of removing the Indian batsmen, who had run up their score with very little trouble, although the Bulawayo pitch was perfectly suited to batting. Mawhire was the best of the Zimbabwean bowling, with 67/3 from his 16 overs. India will be looking to carry on where they left off tomorrow, while Zimbabwe will be hoping to improve on their performance.

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