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The Best of Tests: Zimbabwe beat full-strength India within 4 days

The Zimbabwe team celebrates as Indian batsman Anil Kumble (L) heads for the dressing room after becoming the 8th wicket to fall in India's second innings
©Reuters
 

Test cricket mirrors life. The ebbs and flows of the format have given birth to some of the most breath-taking cricketing epics. A Cricket World Series, The Best of Tests, highlights the finest of these spectacles.

 

Match Summary

Zimbabwe 221 & 293

India 280 & 173

Result - Zimbabwe won by 61 runs

Player of the Match - Henry Olonga

 

When India toured Zimbabwe in 1998-1999 for a one-off Test, the latter had just won one and lost 15 out of their 30 Test matches after being given Test recognition. Zimbabwe had run India close in 1992-93 but had registered their only Test victory against Pakistan.

To add to that, three of Zimbabwe's major players in Grant Flower, Guy Whittall and Paul Strang were injured and could not partake in the Test. Neil Johnson debuted for Zimbabwe while India handed Test caps to Robin Singh and Ajit Agarkar.

Batting first, the makeshift opening pair of Craig Wishart and Gavin Rennie added 42 runs for the first wicket. MW Goodwin then contributed with 42. But, on the back of three wickets each from Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 221.

By the time the day ended, India too lost their openers and night watchman Anil Kumble. A fighting century from Rahul Dravid at strike rate of below 40 and 47 from Sourav Ganguly took India to 280.

Zimbabwe did not drift away in the third essay and put 293 runs on the board, giving India a target of 235. India's opening stand was worse this time with both openers departing for ducks. Apart from 44 from Rahul Dravid and 36 from Sourav Ganguly, there was no big contribution from any of the other Indian batsmen.

Harbhajan Singh and Javagal Srinath delayed the inevitable but with the run-out of Srinath, India were skittled out for 173 and conceded the Test match by 61 runs within 4 days.

Henry Olonga was awarded the Man of the Match for his six wickets in the match, including a fifer.

 

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