A FINE spell of bowling from Graeme Swann and an unbeaten 60 from the England captain, Michael Vaughan, put the tourists on course for victory in the second A Test here yesterday.
England boast a lead of 282 at the end of the third day at the Queens Club after a Zimbabwean collapse saw the hosts lose five wickets in the space of 67 balls - four of them to Swann - and finish their first innings trailing by 160.
Vaughan then continued the attack with the bat, and his fellow opener Darren Maddy hit 28, including a six and four fours, before he was caught behind off Bryan Strang with the partnership at 50.
Vaughan went on in steady fashion, reaching 49 where he spent 33 minutes and lost two partners.
Mal Loye, who made 133 in the first innings, fell for nine when he tried to lift Andy Whittall over mid-on where Stuart Carlisle took the catch running back. Robert Key pulled a short ball from the same bowler and Guy Whittall took the catch at short leg.
Andrew Flintoff came in and launched some lusty blows in his unbeaten 21 while Vaughan eventually got to his 50 off 102 balls and with seven fours.
Swann revealed that with England in control, the captain had promised his team-mates to help complete the job today.
"We're very happy with the position in the match," the Northamptonshire off-spinner said. "Michael Vaughan assures me he's going to get a big century and then we're going to bowl them out and win the game."
The morning session began well for England, with Durham's Steve Harmison once again generating hostile pace. He struck Carlisle on the forearm before later claiming his wicket thanks to an outstanding catch by Loye at third man.
Dirk Viljoen was the one batsman to appear unruffled by Harmison's pace, or the probing attack of Jason Lewry.
He took Zimbabwe past the follow-on mark before being run out at the wicketkeeper's end as Maddy's return from deep square-leg was transferred to the bowler by Chris Read. That dismissal - from the last ball before lunch - heralded the spectacular collapse.
Swann had gone in to lunch with the unflattering figures of 10-1-46-0. He came out to take 4 for 6 in 31 balls. Bryan Strang was caught by Harmison at deep midwicket, Andy Whittall was snapped up off bat-pad by Key and Viljoen holed out to Maddy at deep midwicket.
Swann then wrapped up the innings when Key caught Adam Huckle at short leg, to give England a commanding first innings lead.
Third day; England A won toss
ENGLAND A - First Innings 383 (M B Loye 133, V S Solanki 65, D L Maddy 64; A R Whittall 4-88, B C Strang 4-107).
ZIMBABWE A - First Innings
(Overnight: 94 for 4)
F V Carlisle c Loye b Harmison 39
D P Viljoen c Maddy b Swann 57
A M Blignaut run out 58
B C Strang c Harmison b Swann 0
*A R Whittall c Key b Swann 0
C P Gurr not out 4
A G Huckle c Key b Swann 0
Extras (b4 lb4 w1 nb5) 14
Total (83.1 overs) 223
Fall (cont): 5-125 6-202 7-208 8-208 9-219.
Bowling: Lewry 18-6-52-0; Harmison 17-6-29-2; Flintoff 13-5-25-1; Cosker 20-5-57-2; Swann 15.1-5-52-4.
ENGLAND A - Second Innings
*M P Vaughan not out 60
D L Maddy c Gurr b Strang 28
M B Loye c Carlisle b A R Whittall 9
R W T Key c G J Whittall
b A R Whittal 3
A Flintoff not out 21
Extras (nb1) 1
Total (for 3, 46 overs) 122
Fall: 1-50 2-87 3-90.
To bat: V S Solanki, G P Swann, C M W Read, D A Cosker, J D Lewry, S J Harmison.
Bowling: Strang 14-5-37-1; Blignaut 4-2-16-0; G J Whittall 10-5-25-0; A R Whittall 9-2-27-2; Huckle 9-3-17-0.
Umpires: G R Evans and E J Gilmour.Reuse content