Ireland edge attritional second day
Zimbabwe XI 175 for 3 (Williams 88*, Marillier 47, Johnston 3-30) trail Ireland 465 (White 102, Masakadza 5-107) by 290 runs
Sean Williams' unbeaten 88 formed the backbone of Zimbabwe XI's 175 for 3 as they replied to Ireland's first innings total of 465 on the second day of their Intercontinental Cup game at Harare Sports Club. John Mooney reached 87 - his second first-class half-century - to ensure that Ireland passed 400 after Andrew White's century but both men eventually fell to Shingi Masakadza, who finished with 5 for 107.
Masakadza didn't receive much support from Zimbabwe XI's other seamers as the hosts were made to toil by some gritty resistance from Ireland's lower order with the last three wickets adding 112 runs after White was bowled shortly after reaching his ton, although young legspinner Natsai Mushangwe did contribute three scalps. After Mushangwe's third strike ended Ireland's innings, fast-medium seamer Trent Johnston put the Zimbabweans under immediate pressure by removing Stuart Matsikenyeri - pushed up the order to open - in the fourth over.
Williams and the in-form Steve Marillier - who struck a first-class career-best 148 not out against Midwest Rhinos over the weekend - steadied Zimbabwe XI with a 100-run stand before Johnston returned to remove Marillier three runs short of his fifty. Johnston had captain Vusi Sibanda caught behind in his next over as Zimbabwe XI slipped to 111 for 3, but Williams then found an able partner in allrounder Keith Dabengwa.
Together they added an unbeaten 64 runs for the fourth wicket, with Williams doing the bulk of the scoring as Dabengwa opted for all-out defence in a 61-ball 17. Their partnership ensured there were no further scares for the hosts, but there is plenty of work still to be done and the Zimbabwean lower order may well have to emulate Ireland's stubborn resistance if they are to remain on a level-pegging in this match.