England fail to shine in the gloom

England 198-5 v Zimbabwe
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The Independent Online

The Birmingham weather and a sloppy batting display from England failed to give the ICC Champions' Trophy the spectacular start the tournament organisers were looking for. Tinashe Panyangara tried his best to liven things up, when he bowled seven wides in the opening over of this Pool D match, and this caused great amusement amongst a small but noisy crowd. But the 18- year-old fast bowler from Marondera, Zimbabwe, returned to spoil the fun of those who mocked him when he dismissed Andrew Flintoff, the world's top one-day cricketer, for six.

The Birmingham weather and a sloppy batting display from England failed to give the ICC Champions' Trophy the spectacular start the tournament organisers were looking for. Tinashe Panyangara tried his best to liven things up, when he bowled seven wides in the opening over of this Pool D match, and this caused great amusement amongst a small but noisy crowd. But the 18- year-old fast bowler from Marondera, Zimbabwe, returned to spoil the fun of those who mocked him when he dismissed Andrew Flintoff, the world's top one-day cricketer, for six.

The wicket of Flintoff allowed an energetic and spunky Zimbabwe team to keep England under control, and restrict Michael Vaughan's side to 198-5 before rain returned and caused play to be abandoned.

England have 12 overs in which to add to their overnight score when, weather permitting, these two teams re-appear this morning. On a pitch offering exaggerated seam movement England probably have enough runs on the board to win this match already. Assuming they bowl as well as they have throughout the summer, England only need enough time to bowl 20 overs to produce the result they require.

The batting of Vaughan's side yesterday was disappointing - it had a slightly arrogant and dismissive look to it when play finally began at two o'clock. Flintoff's shot was poor, as was that which sent Vaughan back to the dressing-room, but neither was as dreadful as the one played by Marcus Trescothick.

In matches against weak opponents it is worth being cautious at the start. The runs missed by batsmen playing themselves in can be made up later in the innings and the last thing you want to do is lose a couple of early wickets.

Trescothick is a top player, and the experience gained from 88 matches should have told him to bide his time - especially after being fortunate to survive a wild swipe at Douglas Hondo two balls before he was out - but this failed to prevent him playing another awful stroke at the medium pacer. A sharp catch flew to Brendon Taylor at first slip, and England were 25-1.

Vaughan came in and cut Panyangara for four before pulling Hondo for two sixes over deep square leg. But he then drove loosely and was well caught at second slip. This gave Edward Rainsford his first international wicket - not a bad scalp.

The slipshod batting of his team-mates failed to distract Vikram Solanki. The Worcestershire opener played sensibly and showed a sound defence when the bowlers pitched the ball in the business area. But when a half-volley or short ball came along the elegant right-hander pounced and struck it to the boundary. Andrew Strauss gave him good support and the pair put on 60 before the Middlesex captain edged a difficult catch through to Tatenda Taibu.

Flintoff's arrival caused noisy anticipation amongst the 5,000 crowd. But the Lancashire all-rounder lofted one for a difficult catch over mid-off's left shoulder. Hondo, running backwards, held onto the chance before being swamped by team-mates.

Solanki continued to impress. His fifty was brought up with another classy shot but he lost his wicket playing an expansive stroke against the part-time seam of Vusi Sibanda.

England, on 159-5, were suddenly in danger of imploding but Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones showed their colleagues how it should be done. The pair intelligently regained the initiative with an unbeaten partnership of 39 from 53 balls.

* India's preparations for the Champions' Trophy received a second blow yesterday when Lakshmipathy Balaji was forced to withdraw from the tournament with an abdominal injury. The World Cup finalists, will replace him with Amit Bhandari, a medium pacer who recently toured Kenya with India A. Bhandari has played two one-day games for India.

Edgbaston Scoreboard

Zimbabwe won toss

ENGLAND

M E Trescothick c Taylor b Hondo 10

20 min, 15 balls, 2 fours

V S Solanki lbw b Sibanda 62

135 min, 81 balls, 10 fours

*M P Vaughan c Vermeulen b Rainsford 17

22 min, 13 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes

A J Strauss c Taibu b Rainsford 25

48 min, 30 balls, 2 fours

A Flintoff c Hondo b Panyangara 6

7 min, 8 balls, 1 four

P D Collingwood not out 35

60 min, 56 balls, 2 fours

ÝG O Jones not out 23

25 min, 30 balls, 1 four

Extras (b0 lb4 w11 nb5) 20

Total (for 5, 161 min, 38 overs) 198

Fall: 1-21 (Trescothick) 2-54 (Vaughan) 3-114 (Strauss) 4-123 (Flintoff) 5-159 (Solanki).

To bat: A G Wharf, A F Giles, D Gough, S J Harmison.

Bowling: Panyangara 7-0-55-1 (nb5 w8) (3-0-26-0, 4-0-29-1); Hondo 4-0-21-1 (one spell); Rainsford 10-0-43-2 (w3) (8-0-35-2, 2-0-8-0); Chigumbura 3-1-20-0, Utseya 8-0-27-0, Sibanda 3-0-12-1, Matsikenyeri 3-0-16-0 (one spell each).

Progress: 50: 41 min, 48 balls. 15 overs score: 94-2. 100: 79 min, 94 balls. 150: 127 min, 164 balls.

Solanki's 50: 105 min, 61 balls, 9 fours.

ZIMBABWE: *ÝT Taibu, D D Ebrahim, B R M Taylor, M A Vermeulen, V Sibanda, S Matsikenyeri, T Panyangara, D T Hondo, E C Rainsford, E Chigumbura, P Utseya.

Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI) and S J A Taufel (Aus).

TV replay umpire: B F Bowden (NZ).

Match referee: R S Madugalle (SL).

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