Flower power repels the Indian attack

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The Independent Online

Andy and Grant Flower shared a sixth-wicket stand of 101 to lead the Zimbabwe fightback against India in the first Test. The home side, 145 behind after the first innings, finished on 303 for 7 in their second innings at the close of the third day at the Queen's Sports Club here.

Andy Flower scored a fine 83 and his brother Grant ended on 67 not out after they had lifted Zimbabwe from 134 for 5 with their century stand.

Ashish Nehra proved to be both hero and villain for India. He dismissed Stuart Carlisle for 52 and Andy Flower, but was then banned from bowling again in the innings following a third warning for running on the pitch in his followthrough.

The left-arm seamer was twice warned by umpire Russell Tiffin from Zimbabwe and when he changed ends, the Australian umpire Daryl Harper called him again midway through his 25th over. Both Nehra and his captain, Saurav Ganguly, could face further sanctions over the matter from the match referee and the International Cricket Council.

But it was the Flowers who delighted the small home crowd on the day. Andy Flower batted for nearly four hours, scoring his runs off 145 balls which included seven boundaries. It was his sixth half-century against India in addition to two centuries and a double hundred against the same opposition. He has now scored 982 runs against India in just 12 innings and they have dismissed him for less than 50 only once.

Grant Flower batted more circumspectly for his 11th Test 50. However, when he had 31, he edged a leg-spinner from Sachin Tendulkar to wicketkeeper Sameer Dighe, who dropped a difficult chance.

Earlier, Zimbabwe resumed the day on 79 for 3 and lost the nightwatchman Brian Murphy in the third over. He failed to add to his overnight score of 10 when he was caught at forward short leg by Shiv Sunder Das off the bowling of left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan.

Carlisle batted patiently for his fourth Test half-century, providing valuable support for Andy Flower. But five overs before lunch he drove at a wide delivery from Nehra which caught a thick edge to second slip where Vangipurappu Laxman completed the catch.

That brought the Flowers together and they batted until the first over after tea. Andy Flower edged the third ball over the slips for a boundary and then slashed at the next from Nehra. The ball rocketed to gully and Sadagoppan Ramesh took a blistering catch.

Heath Streak was the final man to be dismissed in the day when he was trapped leg before by Khan after scoring 16.

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