India in Zimbabwe - Review
23 Sep 2005
By: Richard Edmunds
As everyone predicted, India won the two match test series in Zimbabwe 2-0. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the series on the field was that Zimbabwe managed to avoid an innings defeat in the second test for the first time in their home summer.
But it is events off the field for which the series will be remembered. It started with Indian captain Sourav Ganguly claiming after the first test that he was asked to step down as captain, and from there a conflict between the captain and new coach Greg Chappell. It will be interesting to see where that goes from here.
For India it was good to see some Rahul Dravid recover some batting form and also some good performances with the bat from Gautam Gambhir and Ganguly. Irfan Pathan was undeniably the star with the ball, taking 21 wickets in the series including 12 in the second test. Something they need to work on ahead of their upcoming series against South Africa is the fielding, there were several catches dropped in this series.
As you'd expect after two heavy defeats, there are very few positives for Zimbabwe. But one is the emergence of Terry Duffin. The opener scored a slow but determined half century in his first test innings, and although he disappointed in the next three he still looks a very good prospect for the future. Heath Streak showed his class once again in the second test, taking six wickets in the Indian innings when no other Zimbabwean bowler really threatened.
India now return home for series against Sri Lanka and South Africa, while Zimbabwe have a considerable break before their next international engagement, and they'll probably need it.