Heavy loss but great Test for Zim
THE scorebook will show that Zimbabwe collapsed to defeat to New Zealand by 254 runs after a final innings of 132 all out in the second and final Test cricket at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club yesterday.
It will, however, not show how their attempts to fight back were somehow ruined by questionable umpiring decisions.
No fewer than five of the dismissals in the final innings were shown by television replays to be incorrect.
Until lunch Zimbabwe had been fighting hard to force a draw, and may well have succeeded.
The home side, however, paid a heavy price for the absence of the ICC’s Decision Referral System in this series which New Zealand won 2-0.
Zimbabwe began the final day’s play at 58 for three, having lost Sikandar Raza to a questionable lbw decision to the last ball of the fourth day.
The night-watchman, Donald Tiripano, yet to face a ball, was joined by Craig Ervine, the century-maker of the first innings.
The weather was warm and clear again, and the pitch taking a bit of spin with the occasional delivery keeping low.
The pair did a fine job during the first hour, batting doggedly and taking no risks.
After an hour they had both scored 10 runs, taking the score to 78 for three at drinks.
This came to an end at 97, when Tiripano, who had batted so well for 22, was beaten on the back foot by an off-break from Mitchell Santner and was adjudged lbw, although the television replay showed the ball to be missing leg stump.
Prince Masvaure had a nervous start to his innings, being missed off a hard chance to short leg and then nearly being run out. He survived, but Ervine did not. Martin Guptill came on again to bowl his occasional off-breaks for the final over before lunch — Ervine played and missed at a ball that turned away from the left-hander, but he was given out caught at the wicket; 112 for five. After lunch Zimbabwe seemed to have had the stuffing totally knocked out of them.
Sean Williams, who could have fought as well as he did in the first Test, scored 11, but then lashed out at a ball from Guptill outside his off stump, failing to keep the ball down and Kyle Williamson, at short cover, took a very fine catch in front of his face; 130 for six.
PJ Moor scored only a single before Ish Sodhi got a ball to skid through and trapped him lbw as the ball beat his defensive bat; 131 for seven.
Graeme Cremer fell for 1, lbw to Guptill, but the replay appeared to show an inside edge immediately before the ball hit his pad.
Masvaure was next to go, for 11, erroneously given out caught at slip by a ball that missed his bat and hit his pad.
The last man, Mike Chinouya, fell first ball, pushing a catch to short cover, and Zimbabwe had collapsed to 132 all out.
The last five wickets had fallen for just two runs. There were three wickets each for Sodhi and Guptill.
It could have been a fascinating day’s play, but to the Zimbabwean team there will be bitter feeling about how umpiring errors ripped the heart out of their innings.
The New Zealanders played superbly, but surely even they cannot be entirely happy at the way they secured their victory yesterday.
Despite the decisions, the end result reflects the difference between the two teams. While New Zealand had three centurions in each Test, Zimbabwe only had two in the series and could not string together enough big partnerships. Zimbabwe were unable to bowl New Zealand out even once and managed just 12 wickets in the series but showed that with more cricket, there have the talent to improve. “There were some really good things that we can take from this,” said Williamson.
“The way the seamers bowled was fantastic, our batsmen spent a lot of time in the middle and the way the spinners performed was also pleasing.”
Despite another heavy loss, Zimbabwe could reflect on an improved effort from the first Test, which they lost by an innings inside four days.
The hosts went into that game after a 20-month hiatus from Test cricket.
“When you don’t play enough cricket you can come into a Test match and be shellshocked, and that’s what happened,” said captain Cremer.
“I knew the guys were going to fight back in this game. It was good to see guys learn and be willing to get stuck in.”
New Zealand — 582 for 4 declared and 166 for 2 declared in 36 overs (Kane Williamson 68*, Ross Taylor 67*; Donald Tiripano 1/14, Mike Chinouya 1/45)
Zimbabwe — 362 and 132 all out in 68.4 overs (Tino Mawoyo 35, Craig Ervine 27; Martin Guptill 3/11, Ish Sodhi 3/19)
New Zealand won by 254 runs. — Zimbabwe Cricket-AFP
Kane Williamson (left) receives the series trophy after beating Zimbabwe in the 5th day of the second Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo yesterday