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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 December 2004, 16:07 GMT
Business as usual in Bulawayo
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

A view of the third one-day match in Bulawayo
Another derisory crowd gave support to the view that the white cricket fans have voted with their feet

A strong security presence for the third one-day match at Queen's suggested that authorities saw Bulawayo as the most likely venue for any anti-government demonstrations.

In fact, another derisory crowd gave further support to the widely held view that the white cricket fans - disenchanted with Zimbabwe Cricket - have voted with their feet.

Surely this is another reason for the authorities do everything they possibly can to encourage Zimbabwe's leading cricketers to return to the fold.

Rumour has it that only very recently Heath Streak came extremely close to signing a three-year contract, and that should give some cause for optimism.

Without those 'rebels', there is a real risk that cricket in Zimbabwe will wither on the vine, and undo all the good development work that has undoubtedly been done in schools throughout the country.

On the field, it was business as usual as England dealt ruthlessly with their enthusiastic, but vastly inferior opponents.

After their opening 15 overs, Zimbabwe had struggled to 45-0 and, later, were 165-4.

Tatenda Taibu and Ian Bell
England's openers quickly put Zimbabwe's total in perspective

This made their 238-7 a decent effort, and illustrated how ineffective England's bowling can be at the present time.

The absence of Andrew Flintoff is glaringly obvious - Paul Collingwood came on to bowl in only the 13th over - and James Anderson is now looking dreadfully short of confidence as his outswinger continues to desert him.

Simon Jones picked up his first ODI wicket in only his second over, and he claimed Tatenda Taibu later on, but the pace bowler is probably still too erratic to be considered a regular in this shortened form of the game.

England's openers put Zimbabwe's total into perspective by rattling up 138 in only 20 overs before Ian Bell cut loosly at Stuart Matsikenyeri and was caught behind for 53.

Vikram Solanki was dropped twice off consecutive balls on 38, but feasted on the constant stream of half-volleys and long-hops that came his way.

Having reached his second international century from just 89 balls, he drove Matsikenyeri to long-off and was caught for exactly 100.

Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss made the most of a chance to have a quiet net as they knocked off the remaining runs and condemn Zimbabwe to another overwhelming defeat.


SEE ALSO
Defeat demonstrates gulf in class
01 Dec 04 |  Ashes 2005
Positives off the field for Zimbabwe
28 Nov 04 |  Ashes 2005
Unwanted tour may help new talent
27 Nov 04 |  Ashes 2005


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