Heavy loss but great Test for Zim

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

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

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