ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Zimbabwe v New Zealand, only Test, Bulawayo, 5th day

New Zealand outlast Brendan Taylor to win thriller

The Report by Nitin Sundar

November 5, 2011

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

New Zealand 426 (Guptill 109, Mpofu 4-92) and 252 for 8 dec. (R Taylor 76, Jarvis 5-64) beat Zimbabwe 313 (Sibanda 93, Vettori 5-70) and 331 (Taylor 117, Bracewell 5-85) by 34 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Brendan Taylor upper-cuts Chris Martin to the boundary, Zimbabwe v New Zealand, only Test, Bulawayo, 5th day, November 5, 2011
Brendan Taylor scored a sparkling ton, but it ended in heartbreak for him © AFP

The currently unranked Zimbabwe went at the world No. 8 New Zealand mercilessly on a fifth day dripping with Test-match brilliance, but they ran out of steam dramatically after tea to lose by 34 runs. It was a crushing result for the hosts who went for a win in a situation that would have forced many of the Test elite sides to play safe.

Their spark was lit by Brendan Taylor, who hustled to his third century in seven innings. Taylor's brilliance put Zimbabwe on pole position at tea, but the game turned on its head once he exited after the break. Doug Bracewell and Daniel Vettori barged through, as Zimbabwe capsized from 265 for 3 to 331 all out, with less than six overs left in the match.

The force was with Zimbabwe at tea, with the target down to 101 off a possible 29 overs. New Zealand's shoulders had visibly slumped a little earlier, when the lack of sufficient video evidence meant a huge moment went against them. Taylor had scythed Chris Martin uppishly to deep cover where BJ Watling dived forward to scoop it inches from the ground, but it was impossible to say from the camera angles on offer whether it was a clean catch. Incredibly, Taylor holed out to the same fielder in the first over after the break, and this time Watling pouched it clearly.

Suddenly, New Zealand found the extra gear they had lacked all day. Vettori, who has an unspectacular record in the fourth innings, probed away with intent, employing two slips and short leg against the debutant Malcolm Waller. Taibu, already past 50, was the bigger menace, and Vettori adopted a negative line against him. After resisting the urge to sweep all day, Taibu eventually top-edged from outside leg stump to midwicket.

Zimbabwe looked for singles, New Zealand looked for wickets, and the pressure got to Bracewell, who over-stepped while delivering an effort ball that would have got him a wicket. Vettori then made a strong case for the Spirit of Cricket award, by refraining from appealing for a potentially match-turning run-out after unknowingly obstructing a single. With every run scored, the game was swinging in a manner Twenty20 cricket just cannot replicate. Bracewell then cleaned up the tail, while Man of the Match Vettori trapped Waller and Chris Mpofu to seal what was, arguably, the best Test match of the year.

The grand finish would have never materialised but for Taylor's brilliance, or the grit shown by his top-order colleagues. Mawoyo blunted the sharp end of New Zealand's intent, and after his dismissal Taibu was assiduous in thwarting them until tea. But Taylor's daredevilry provided the fuel to propel Zimbabwe's ambition.

Smart stats

  • Brendan Taylor's 117 is only the second century by a Zimbabwe batsman in the fourth innings in Tests. The only other hundred was scored by Kevin Arnott against New Zealand in 1992.
  • The 108-run stand between Taylor and Tatenda Taibu is the second-highest fourth-wicket stand for Zimbabwe against New Zealand. The highest is 130 between Andy Flower and Gavin Rennie in Wellington in 2000.
  • Doug Bracewell became the seventh New Zealand bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul on Test debut. It is also the fifth five-wicket haul by a bowler making his debut against Zimbabwe.
  • Zimbabwe's 331 is their second 300-plus total in the fourth innings after the 310 against Pakistan in 2002. On both occasions, Zimbabwe ended up on the losing side.
  • The 34-run win is the third-lowest margin of victory for New Zealand in terms of runs. The only two lower victory margins came against West Indies (27 runs) and Pakistan (32 runs).

The rain clouds dotting the horizon gave the seamers absolutely no assistance in the morning, and Taylor checked in with a series of audacious shots. In one Martin over, he whipped the first ball furiously over square leg, before chipping out and punching a straight six, and upper-cutting a short ball over third man for four. He took two more fours in Martin's next over to announce Zimbabwe's intentions.

Mawoyo built on the tremendous powers of denial he had displayed in his marathon 163* against Pakistan in September. He was initially roughed up by Bracewell's well-directed bouncers, but that spell ended when Martin changed ends. He countered Vettori off the front foot as often as possible - a significant departure from his handling of Saeed Ajmal's bigger bag of tricks in the Pakistan Test. With Mawoyo stone-walling Vettori, Taylor got stuck into Jeetan Patel. He scampered out of his crease four times in the day to swipe the hapless offspinner into the recesses beyond the leg-side boundary.

As is often the case in these circumstances, a part-timer intervened with a freakish breakthrough. Martin Guptill's second ball bounced extra as it turned down the leg side, and Mawoyo somehow contrived to drag it onto off stump. His untimely exit stalled the scoring-rate after lunch, as Taibu subdued his normally breezy approach.

The defensiveness allowed New Zealand to employ several men close-in, with Brendon McCullum crouching at the batsmen's face at silly point, and tumbling forward in anticipation almost every ball. Taylor scrambled across for a quick single in the 59th over, but the cover fielder missed the stumps. Taibu was trapped in front by a sharp inswinger, and - not for the first time in the match - umpire Marais Erasmus wrongly ruled in the batsman's favour.

Bracewell positioned two short legs about five yards from each other and bent in a series of reverse swingers. Taylor clipped one of them uppishly, but found the miniscule gap, before bringing up his ton with an edge through the cordon. Taibu too broke free after pottering around to 9 off 67 balls, cutting and steering Martin for fours, before hitting a four and a six off Guptill.

With the game heading Zimbabwe's way, New Zealand turned to the second new ball in desperation. Taylor chose to chance his arm over the covers. He got away with it once but it cost him his wicket the second time. Over the next couple of hours, it went on to cost his side a special piece of history.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dummy4 on (November 7, 2011, 14:03 GMT)

@ Zia Rehma dont you think the lake of Aggressivenss is something that is laking in test games there are too many drawn test matches these days and thats why it is slowly losing its relevance,this was one of the best 5 dayers i have seen in a long time, yes 7 wickets fell in 1 session (poor zim batting) but it still was entertaining for a test match.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 7, 2011, 13:57 GMT)

if taylor was born in india he could have become a GREAT LEGEND its saad to see a player of that caliber to be not that much popular than our average badrinath , vijay, mukund, rahane

Posted by surajit on (November 7, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

well done Zim, even if you lose at least you tried to win and that what it matters. Hey guys plz don't call Zim stupid if they havn't lost (tried to win) will we be talking about it. instead we will be commenting as "no big deal" at least they showed a lot of heart.

Posted by Andrew on (November 7, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

@Zia Rehman. Yes, Zim could have gone for the draw and it was a bit reckless of them to approach the last session in that way having saved the match. But they had nothing to lose and nobody would have remembered a dull draw that was achieved with blocking the last day out. In any case, that could also have backfired and they could have still been bowled out 150 runs short. Instead, everyone will remember the epic way in which they, against all odds, tried to chase down a mammoth score on a last day wicket, against some experienced bowlers. Yes, I am sad we did not get anything out of the match, but Zim showed the world we can compete, not just with tame draws, but actually plundering epic wins too. In the context of our return to test cricket, that was much more important.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 6, 2011, 17:58 GMT)


Posted by Dummy4 on (November 6, 2011, 15:13 GMT)

Looking at this result it just shows how Bad New Zeland are getting at Test cricket. McCullum isnt a opener at test match level as he is too free flowing. I think New Zeland need to look for a specialist opener with a "drop anchor" style of play. Ross Taylor's batting at the moment is frustrating at the moment as he gets in to a nice score of 50-70 and then gets out. 50's dont win test matches. I do like the black caps idea of promoting Kane Williamson as he is very good batsman with alot of potential.

New Zealand will have to realise that they cant rely on Vettori to bail them out for runs because the middle doesnt fire.

Bowling wise Chris Martin bowls his socks off and puts 110% when he approaches the crease and when on song can bowl most batsman out but he does bowl alot of "hit me balls" and is a bit of a batting rabbit.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 6, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

people may like to call Zim team Winners even after they lost but while their effort was noble it was also kind of stupid , they lost because they were over aggressive when NZ were clearly negative bowling. when the batting team becomes desperate for runs it rarely ends well for it !

Big teams like to play safe because they have a ranking to uphold and much to lose where as Zim being currently un-ranked had almost nothing to lose ! making 4 runs /over is not impossible in tests but its very, very difficult when opposition doesnt mind wasting time and deliveries.Also there are no power plays or fielding restrictions or many wides , or no ball free hits!

India and dare i say Pakistan did the right thing by not throwing away a certain draw!

Posted by BALASUBRAMANIAN on (November 6, 2011, 14:33 GMT)

This was one Test match played in true spirit of game. Teams gauging the opponent on the first 3 days and then on 4th day the game suddenly livens up. Hats off to Ross Taylor for declaring with a target of 366 in 116 overs and with one hour game on 4th evening and a whole day on 5th; perfectly sporting declaration. He was running the risk of losing the match and he caused many an eyebrow to be raised and many must have argued against this decision; but he did it. Now what a way Zimbabwe responded to this declaration with a gutsy performance till almost tea on day 5. Brendan Taylor and Tatenda Taibu played sensible cricket and at tea Zimbabwe looked on the way to snatching wicket with 29 overs & 101 runs to get. But things turned dramatically after the tea break and they lost Taylor after scoring 100 and Taibu too was gone and the rest didn't quite live up to Bracewell brilliant display of disciplined fast bowling and NZ came out a worthy victor after some anxious moments in the field.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 6, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

well played guy @ list we went down fyting we competed...

Posted by mahjut on (November 6, 2011, 8:07 GMT)

Fydd: BD nor PK 'smashed' this attack. It may not be a strong attack but there are only two strong attacks in Test cricket atm so we'll take ours. in all honesty, i'll take ours over a few other test attacks (NZ possibly included).

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Nitin Sundar Social media manager Nitin spent his formative years perfecting the art of landing the googly, before blossoming into a book-cricket specialist. More excellence followed in the underarm version of the game before, like the majority of India's misguided youth, he started taking studies seriously. After four forgettable years of electrical engineering, followed by a rigorous MBA and 16 months in the strategy consulting industry, he began to ponder life's more profound issues. Such as the angle made by Brian Lara's bat with the horizontal at the peak of his back-lift. A move to ESPNcricinfo followed and Nitin is now a prolific nurdler in office cricket, with a questionable technique against the short ball.
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