Collingwood finds range in England's routine win

<preform>England 299-7<br>Zimbabwe 147<br>England win by 152 runs</preform>
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The Independent Online

Vikram Solanki, Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones spent useful time at the crease; Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff had a gentle workout; and England's Champions' Trophy campaign got off to a winning start on Saturday.

Vikram Solanki, Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones spent useful time at the crease; Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff had a gentle workout; and England's Champions' Trophy campaign got off to a winning start on Saturday.

Michael Vaughan will be pretty pleased with the way his team played but this match was not a contest - it was practice. England did not need to be at their best to defeat a ravaged and inexperienced Zimbabwe side by 152 runs, but tougher challenges lie ahead. Vaughan will be aware of the improvement needed and their profligate top-order batsmen will have to knuckle down if they are to beat Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl on Friday, and the winners of Pool A - Australia or New Zealand - back here in the semi-finals on 21 September.

England added 101 runs in the 12 overs of their innings left over from Friday. It allowed them to post the formidable total of 299 for 7. The bulk of these runs came from Collingwood. The Durham batter showed he can hit the ball into the stands as well as nurdle it into gaps and scamper like a hare. In the 37 balls he faced on Saturday he added 45 runs to his tally and on three occasions cleared the boundary.

Collingwood's big hitting hardly put the crowd in danger - his accuracy would have needed to be as pin-point as a golfer competing in this week's Ryder Cup to have hit one of the 200 or so spectators that turned up - but it did win him the man-of-the-match award.

Zimbabwe's task, faced with such a daunting total, was to avoid embarrassment. And this they did. Harmison, Flintoff and Darren Gough attempted to bully their diminutive batsmen with a barrage of short balls but Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu and Elton Chigumbura showed courage and skill in difficult conditions.

How long their spirit lasts will depend on how they are handled by their own board and the International Cricket Council. No player can prosper in a team that is continually being thrashed and this is something the ICC is attempting to rectify by suggesting that both Zimbabwe and Bangladesh only play Test matches at home in the foreseeable future.

On the green, fast, seaming pitch used for this match Sachin Tendulkar would have struggled to cope with England's two enforcers, Harmison and Flintoff, who between them took 6 for 40. Both gained alarming bounce and movement from the surface and in many ways the Zimbabweans did well to reach 147.

Gough struck first, when he trapped Brendon Taylor in front with a rare full delivery. The veteran then strangled Stuart Matsikenyeri with a short wide ball which was expertly caught by Collingwood in the gully.

Harmison dismissed Dion Ebrahim and Mark Vermeulen in the 10th over and at this stage it looked as though the visitors, on 26 for 4, would be rolled for under 50. But then Sibanda hooked Harmison for six and Taibu and Chigumbura tucked into Alex Wharf. The fun did not last long but it was enough to show that cricket in Zimbabwe still has a pulse.

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