As sweet as can be

HARARE – Three decades and at times frustrating years, but eventually the hoodoo has been broken.

The sights and sounds that emulated from Harare Sports Club yesterday evening was enough to bring tears to the most hardened man’s eyes.

What the crowd and indeed millions of viewers around the world witnessed, was nothing short of a miracle.

An unbelievable sense of unification pulsated through the venue as loud as the music that pumped from DJ Daniel’s sound system.

A sense of togetherness that in one swift movement crushed all the negative stuff that has affected cricket in the country for so many years.

Australia sprung a bit of a surprise on everybody at the toss when Michael Clarke decided to bat, but then you would expect nothing less from such an unbelievable captain.

The more he plays, the more people around the world stand in absolute awe and respect of Clarke.

Struggling throughout the day with a troublesome hamstring, Clarke then still took it upon himself to bowl the 47th over, injury and all.

Although it came to nothing, you can’t help but be taken in by his passion for the game, and his pride to play for and captain his country.

Zimbabwe’s spinners were once again the key in restricting Australia to 209, although to be honest, they should really only have been chasing 179 instead of the 209 posted by Clarke and his men.

The seamers were very disappointing, and the fielding shoddy, with five catches going down in the Australian innings.

The pitch was by no means accountable for the Zimbabwean seamers bowling as poorly as they did, because the Aussies hit their lengths almost with immediate effect.

The two Mitchells, Starc and Marsh, applied much needed pressure, which then allowed off spinner Nathan Lyon to turn the match on its head.

Lyon was superb throughout is 10 overs, and richly deserved his figures of 4-44.

Brendan Taylor showed signs and glimpses of returning to form with some fine sweep shots, and straight shots, before been undone by Lyon.

Elton Chugumbura appeared to have nerves of steel as he mixed attack with defence to absolute perfection in his 66 ball knock of 52 not out.

This innings of 52 not out, was in my humble opinion the best innings he has played for his country since making his debut back in 2004.

Not only because he steered his country to victory, but it was also the manner in which he went about scoring these runs.

The very first balls he faced, Chigumbura smartly transferred the pressure back onto Lyon and the fielders by lofting the off-spinner over the top of the crowded infield for two successive boundaries.

The impression he gave was that he was going to try and counter attack by hitting boundaries, but instead, he settled down, and played a gem of an innings.

And then there was Prosper Utseya, a very quiet and unassuming person.

But one thing he does is listen.

He has most certainly had his share of criticism, some of it well justified, but throughout this series, Utseya seems to have undergone a transformation.

At times, his expression when fielding has come across as being bored and disinterested, but he has been one of the most vocal players on the field when encouraging the bowlers.

But it was his effort with the bat that really impressed.

For a very long time, Utseya has been more than happy to simply hold up an end, and hardly score any runs — facing a lot of balls, and hardly contributing any runs.

Yesterday, however, saw a Prosper Utseya very few people knew existed.

From the start, he went about his business with an air of authority and aggression that left many of us speechless.

Not only did he support his captain, but Utseya actually took the game by the scruff of the neck, and played a pivotal part in winning the game.

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GALLERYCARTIDGES - 2 September 2014

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