Zimbabwe struggling despite Heath Streak's heroics
by AFP

Ground:Harare Sports Club, Harare
Scorecard:Zimbabwe v India
Player:RS Dravid, NB Mahwire, HH Streak
Event:India in Zimbabwe 2005/06

DateLine: 20th September 2005


A career best display by pace bowler Heath Streak was not enough to leave Zimbabwe facing another innings defeat by India after the second day of the second and final Test here on Wednesday.


Streak took a career best six wickets for 73 - the fourth best by any Zimbabwe bowler in Test cricket - but his performance aside there was little cheer for Zimbabwe.


India scored 366 all out in their first innings, which ended in the third session of the second day, a lead that gave them a 205 runs advantage over Zimbabwe's 161 all out.


In the last hour Zimbabwe produced yet another batting collapse and at the close were shattered after scraping together a miserable 39-4, still 166 runs adrift of making India bat again.


India now need to get Zimbabwe out for 206 runs or fewer Thursday. Streak bowled with unusual pace and he tested the India batsmen throughout their innings.


In a fruitful partnership with Blessing Mahwire, Streak kept India pegged down throughout a slow day. Streak commented: "It was a much better performance by the bowlers who worked in tandem to good effect. We tried to stay on one side of the wicket and create pressure, trying to dry up boundaries and it worked.


"But now we have to struggle again tomorrow. Certainly we will keep on fighting and make the very best of it that we can. "Naturally I am delighted to get six wickets in the India innings, but I see it as a team success."


The tourists, resuming on a cosy 195-1, managed only another 171 runs, symbolised by Rahul Dravid, whose 98 required 273 balls. He was out two runs short of a 21st century.


In his defence, however, he needed to hold the anchoring role. Rahul Dravid said: "I wasn't nervous in the nineties and didn't lose concentration. I just played across the line too much when I was on 98. "The wicket was difficult and the ball tended to stop on you and play other tricks. The Zimbabwe bowlers were excellent and asked searching questions.


"Streak in particular was excellent with the new ball and all the Zimbabwe bowlers kept up sustained pressure. This made me take a cautious line."


The Indian innings was characterised by a hard struggle to accumulate runs. It took them well over two sessions to take their score uncertainly up to 366 all out.


Gautam Gambhir and Dravid had gone to the wicket with 120 already having been made for the second wicket.


But Gambhir, from his personal contribution of 95, made only two more runs and missed out on a second century, V. V. S. Laxman scored only eight and Ganguly, the third Zimbabwe victim before lunch, fell for 16 to the debutant Waddington Mwayenga.


Irfan Pathan took over the mantle from Dravid and made 32.


It was Zimbabwe's day, or more specifically Heath Streak's, until the last hour or so when they again went to into rapid and dismal batting decline.


Pathan added to his first innings haul with two more, those of opening pair Brendan Taylor and Terry Duffin for four and 10 runs respectively.


Zaheer Khan followed up those strikes with the key wickets of Dion Ebrahim and captain Tatendu Taibu for three and one runs, to leave Zimbabwe in trouble.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)