A Flower still in season…Andy Flower’s 24-year-old record still intact Left: Andy Flower batting for Zimbabwe during the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup match between England and Zimbabwe at Brisbane, Australia. Right: Flower ducks a ball bowled by India’s Javagal Srinath on the first day of the second Test match between India and Zimbabwe in New Delhi, February 28, 2002

Brandon Moyo, [email protected]

TWO weeks ago, England’s Ollie Pope stunned India with a magnificent 196 in the second innings of the first Test, helping his team to a 28-run victory and a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

His innings, which India’s coach Rahul Dravid called “the best exhibition of reverse sweeping he has ever seen”, was the fourth-highest score by a visiting batter in the second innings of a Test in India. But who holds the record for the highest score in that category? None other than Zimbabwe’s greatest batter, Andy Flower, who scored an unbeaten 232 in Nagpur in 2000.

Flower’s double ton was a masterclass of batting in the subcontinent where he faced a formidable Indian attack that included Zaheer Khan, Sarandeep Singh and Javagal Srinath. He batted for more than nine hours, scoring 30 fours and two sixes and played every shot in the book, including the reverse sweep with flair. He was the backbone of Zimbabwe’s second innings as they followed on after conceding a huge first-innings lead of 227. He carried his bat through the innings, finishing on 503/6 and securing a draw for his team.

Andy Flower

Flower’s feat was even more remarkable considering that he was also the wicketkeeper and the captain of the team. He had to shoulder the responsibility of leading a side that was often outmatched by stronger opponents, but he never gave up. He was the fourth Zimbabwean to score a double hundred in Test cricket, after Dave Houghton, Guy Whittall and his brother Grant Flower. He also scored 55 in the first innings, making him the highest run-scorer in the match.

The match in Nagpur was the second and final Test of the series, which India won 1-0. The first Test in Delhi was also a high-scoring affair, with India declaring on 609/6 and Zimbabwe replying with 422/9. Flower was the star of the show again, scoring an unbeaten 183, his highest score at that time. He was named the Player of the Match and the Player of the Series, having scored 540 runs in four innings and being dismissed only twice.

Ollie Pope

Flower’s record of 232 not out still stands today, 24 years later, as the highest score by a visiting batter in the second innings of a Test in India. Only two other batters have come close to breaking it: New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, who scored 225 in Hyderabad in 2010 and England’s Ollie Pope, who scored 196 in Chennai in 2024. The previous record holder was West Indies’ Gary Sobers, who scored 198 in Kanpur in 1958.

Flower’s innings in Nagpur was not only a personal milestone, but also a testament to his skill and temperament as one of the world’s best batters in all conditions. He was especially adept at playing spin, which he demonstrated throughout his career. He ended his Test career with 4 794 runs in 63 matches, at an average of 51,54. He scored 12 centuries and 27 half-centuries and was ranked as the number one batter in the world in 2001.

He is widely regarded as the finest batter Zimbabwe has ever produced and one of the greatest wicketkeeper-batters of all time.@brandon_malvin

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