Zimbabwe v India Preview
10 Sep 2005
By: Richard Edmunds
After the triangular ODI series, the Indian side captained by Saurav Ganguly stay in Zimbabwe for two tests, a series that is really over before it has begun.
Following their humiliation in the first home series of the summer, against New Zealand in which they were beaten inside two and three days respectively in the two tests, Zimbabwe showed little improvement in the first few matches of the triangular series. First they were hit for 397 in the 44 over match against New Zealand, and then dismissed for well below 100 in their first match against India, their opponents in this series. But in their last two games, with a resistance led by Andy Blignaut, they showed significant improvement and, although never threatening to win either match, managed to play competitive cricket against the two world-class teams.
They now get out their whites again, and hope to put the memory of the two innings defeats behind them. There were very few positives to get out of that series, apart from perhaps the batting of Brendan Taylor and bowling of debutant Keith Dabengwa. Both will need to do that again and more if they wish to compete against India, who will be looking to complete a comfortable series victory, something that is still frustratingly rare outside the subcontinent for the Indian side.
The Indian batting lineup looks particularly daunting. Although some of the bowlers have talent, and Heath Streak is undoubtedly world-class, the prospect of getting through the top-order lineup of Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid and Ganguly in order to take just the first four wickets of the innings is extremely difficult.
As for the Zimbabweans, they have some talent in their batting lineup as they have shown at times, but their capitulation for less than 100 twice in the first test against New Zealand does not bode well for their clash against particularly the spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, as they had significant difficulty against New Zealand's Daniel Vettori.
Realistically, the series will most likely result in a 2-0 win to India. Zimbabwe are mainly playing for pride in what has been an absolutely catastrophic home summer.