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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 December, 2004, 16:12 GMT
Solanki enjoys Bulawayo surface
Vikram Solanki
Solanki's century was his second in one-day internationals
Vikram Solanki praised the quality of the wicket at the Queen's Sports Club after his match-winning century against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on Saturday.

The England opener, who hit exactly 100 in the eight-wicket win, said: "It was just a very good wicket and I think we set out to make best use of it.

"The wickets in Harare were not so easy to score on inside the first 15 overs."

England captain Michael Vaughan said Solanki had produced "a most convincing performance" at the top of the order.

Vaughan, who hit the winning runs in making 54 not out, said new-look opening bowlers Alex Wharf and James Anderson had "set the tone" by restricting Zimbabwe to 238-7.

He went on: "The two openers then went out out and made it look easy. It was nice to play your shots on and the groundstaff deserve a lot of credit."

Solanki will have another opportunity to fill his boots in Sunday's final match of the series, but he was anxious to mention the performance of Bell, who hit his second half-century of the series in only his third innings at this level.

"He's played well throughout the tour, starting in Namibia and then in Harare," said Solanki.

Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu said: "We batted well but our strike bowlers didn't come to the party."

Explaining the team's desperately slow start with the bat, he added: "We are trying not to lose many wickets in the first 15 overs then bat through the middle period while getting four or five an over."

Though that is more or less what they achieved on Saturday, it was not good enough against England on such a well-prepared surface.

Interview: England opener Vikram Solanki


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