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Since 1st March, 1999
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Hussain expects a tougher fight
- FINAL TEST l Zimbabwe to go in with unchanged XI; Johnson likely to make England debut

Chester-le-Street: Nasser Hussain warned his young England side on Wednesday not to expect a repeat of their crushing first Test win over Zimbabwe.

Hussain said on the eve of the inaugural Test match at Chester-le-Street near Durham, that his bowlers should expect a tougher battle.

ďWhat happened at Lordís was not Test cricket (and) I will tell my players that 19 wickets falling on one day is not the norm,Ē he said. ďWe mustnít panic if Zimbabwe put up a stand. What happened at Lordís... was abnormal.Ē

England won the first match of the two-Test series by an innings and 92 runs inside three days as the touring side were outclassed in all departments. They have now lost their last eight Tests in a row.

Hussain, who went to Durham university, said left-arm spinner Ashley Giles would play but he would not name the side until the start of the match on Thursday.

With seamer Matthew Hoggard out injured, he will be in charge of an even more inexperienced attack than at Lordís, with Durhamís Steve Harmison the most capped fast bowler with six Tests to his name.

Hussain added that several players were carrying minor injuries, with Anthony McGrath (side strain) likely to play purely as specialist batsman if selected.

The swing bowlerís place in the team will be taken by either James Kirtley or Richard Johnson ó both of whom are yet play Test cricket.

Somerset seamer Johnson, having ousted Kirtley from Englandís one-day squad last week, will be the favourite to get the nod from the selectors.

Much will again be expected of Lancashire quick James Anderson, who marked his Test debut by taking five for 73 as Zimbabwe were skittled out for 147 in the first innings. Anderson looks as if is shaping up well.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will be desperate to avoid a repeat of the Lordís thrashing.

Captain Heath Streak, named an unchanged side, conceding that no players outside the Lordís starting 11 had made a strong case for inclusion.

ďI feel thatís our best 11,Ē he said. ďWe have to show confidence in those players. We canít keep chopping and changing every time we lose a game.Ē

The visiting coach Geoff Marsh, the former Australian opening batsman, will be looking for a positive reaction from his players to reverse the Lordís debacle. However, the signs are not encouraging.

Zimbabwe have only one batsman in their party, Grant Flower, who has made a Test hundred and just one bowler, Streak, who has taken more than 50 Test wickets.

And Lordís provided proof, if any were needed, of how much Zimbabwe missed Andy Flower, who retired from international cricket after the World Cup.

Allrounders Andy Blignaut and Sean Ervine showed glimpses of their ability at Lordís while opening batsmen Dion Ebrahim and Mark Vermeulen both made fifties.

Zimbabwe, the Lordís thrashing notwithstanding, have named an unchanged side.

England, who have not won a Test series since defeating Sri Lanka 2-0 in a three-match home series last year, will be forced to make at least one change from their successful Lordís line-up following Matthew Hoggardís knee injury.

Deal with protesters

Durham chairman Bill Midgley said the club had struck a deal with protesters opposed to President Robert Mugabeís government to make sure demonstrations would be conducted outside the Riverside ground and not disrupt the game.

He added that Saturday was already sold out but there were still between 2,500-3,000 seats available for Thursday and Friday.

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