India thrash dogged Zimbabwe

Bulawayo, September 16:

India thrashed Zimbabwe by an innings and 90 runs in Bulawayo on Friday despite some dogged lower-order resistance from the hosts on day four of the first Test. India had scored 554 in their first innings which was too much for the home side to reach in two attempts. The Zimbabweans made a respectable 279 in their first attempt and scrambled to a total of 185 in their second innings, with skipper Tatenda Taibu making 52, after being 67-6 overnight.

They kept India at bay for almost two hours on Friday but the inevitable happened five minutes before lunch. Harbhajan Singh, who passed the 200 Test wicket mark, finished off the tail to return figures of 4-59.

The match was over when the off-spinner trapped Gavin Ewing lbw to end the hosts’ last-wicket stand of 47. Top performances for India were VVS Laxman, who hit 140 and went through his own landmark of 4,000 in Tests. Sourav Ganguly made 101, his first Test century in the last 14 attempts, to pass the 5000 Test run mark. He was clearly quite determined to quieten his critics and he has certainly succeeded. The second Test gets under way in Harare on Tuesday. Ganguly said the team played well overall and he was impressed with Laxman. “As to my own century it was well timed and I was delighted with it, even though it took quite a while. Overall, though, it was a team effort and that was important,” he said. “I am looking forward to the second Test and I expect some challenging cricket from Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe captain Taibu said: “We have learned a lot from this and there are positive signs for us. I thought we fought well in the closing stages of the match.”