Late strikes keep New Zealand on course for vic­tory

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

Zim­babwe 362 (Ervine 146, Sodhi 3-60) & 58 for 3 (Ma­woyo 31, Southee 2-18) need an­other 329 runs to beat New Zealand 582 for 4 decl. and 118 for 2 (Wil­liamson 68*, Tay­lor 67*)

NEW Zealand have 90 overs to take seven wick­ets af­ter they set Zim­babwe a tar­get of 387 runs in a con­test that bears an un­canny re­sem­blance to the one these teams tus­sled in five years ago at the same venue.

Then, Zim­babwe went into the fi­nal day hav­ing lost two wick­ets. This time, they are an­other man down and with­out Bren­dan Tay­lor or Tatenda Taibu. Worse, the men who will bat in their places are both car­ry­ing nig­gles. Craig Ervine was hit on the knee dur­ing his first in­nings 146 while Prince Mas­vaure sprained his an­kle dur­ing Tues­day morn­ing’s warm-ups. Mas­vaure may not bat but Ervine should be able to.

Tim Southee and Trent Boult man­aged to get late move­ment and prey on the less ex­pe­ri­enced bats­men but Ervine has showed he has the abil­ity to front up to them. He took Zim­babwe close to avoid­ing the fol­low-on in their first in­nings. His care­fully crafted, ca­reer-best score had its most im­pres­sive mo­ments on the third day but he did his best to mar­shall the tail on the fourth morn­ing.

He did not have much sup­port and Zim­babwe lost their last four wick­ets for 43 runs to con­cede a deficit of 220, but Kane Wil­liamson de­cided New Zealand would ex­tend the lead.

With a li­cence to at­tack, Tom Latham and Martin Gup­till be­gan ag­gres­sively but both fell on their swords early on. Don­ald Tiri­pano found Latham’s edge in the sixth over to give wick­et­keeper Pe­ter Moor his first Test catch. Gup­till cut Michael Chi­noiya to John Nyumbu in the gully. New Zealand were 26 for 2 and Zim­babwe had bought them­selves some time. Only eight runs came in the next seven overs as Wil­liamson and Ross Tay­lor treated the open­ing bowlers with re­spect.

New Zealand upped the ante against Chamu Chib­habha and Graeme Cre­mer. Wil­liamson brought up his third fifty-plus score in the se­ries and cut loose af­ter tea. The pair smashed 48 runs in four overs and Tay­lor, with his un­beaten 67, now has 364 runs in the se­ries with­out be­ing dis­missed.

Wil­liamson’s dec­la­ra­tion 25 min­utes into the third ses­sion left New Zealand with 116 overs to bowl Zim­babwe out. They would have thought that was enough when in the third over Chamu Chib­habha had a nibble at a ball that moved away late and edged it. The bowler Southee looked his sec­ond slip Gup­till, who had to reach to his right but could not hold on.

Chib­habha was a mix­ture of feisti­ness and trep­i­da­tion. He had a life in the third over, pulled and drove the ag­grieved bowler Southee fours and went fish­ing in the off-stump cor­ri­dor against Boult.

As was the case in the first Test, Neil Wag­ner trou­bled Zim­babwe most. His short-ball strat­egy from around the wicket tested Tino Ma­woyo’s de­fences. The bats­man even­tu­ally grew com­fort­able with that line of at­tack, forc­ing Wag­ner to go back over the stumps and he had a close shout for caught-be­hind.

Mitchell Sant­ner, brought on in the 10th over, found turn and drift to leave Chib­habha par­tic­u­larly puz­zled but it was Wag­ner who got the re­ward. He got one to move away and take the edge to Gup­till at sec­ond slip.

Stumps was nine overs away, Southee and Boult re­turned for their fi­nal bursts and Zim­babwe grew tense. Ma­woyo held out un­til the penul­ti­mate over, when an in­swinger from Boult had him lbw Two balls later, Southee trapped Raza with a sim­i­lar de­liv­ery to end the bats­man’s first Test at No.3 with just three runs to his name.

Zim­babwe lasted 108.1 overs in 2011 against the same team, at the same venue and very nearly beat them. They’d dream of go­ing a step fur­ther tonight, while New Zealand would pre­fer a less nerve-wrack­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on the fi­nal day. — Cricinfo.

Michael Chi­nouya dis­missed Martin Gup­till early in New Zealand’s sec­ond in­nings, Zim­babwe v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bu­l­awayo, 4th day, Au­gust 9, 2016

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