September 22, 2000

Spirited bowling shuts Zimbabwe out

It was a sight to gladden Kiwi hearts.

Chris Cairns, Shayne O'Connor and Dion Nash all pounding in and bowling with a bit of fire and passion.

Good, controlled aggression. It might not have been lightning quick but it was probing, searching bowling of hesitant locals and produced rewards by the end of the third day of the second New Zealand-Zimbabwe Test in Harare.

O'Connor bowled what appeared to be his best spell in Test cricket so far and while he didn't have the rewards he deserved, he will bowl worse spells in Tests and get better results.

The extra speed he has found, the more controlled swing and the consistent line has made a more effective bowler and added some extra bite to the Kiwi attack.

Having Nash also adding his sting meant the line was unrelenting for the locals who were unable to get on top of the assault.

Then having done their work the Canterbury dustmen Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan swept their way through the tail.

The fact that off-spinner Paul Wiseman was required to bowl only three overs could be the biggest weapon in the Kiwi armoury going into the fourth day in hunt of an innings victory.

If the pacemen can't make the breakthrough, Wiseman is likely to face the opportunity beloved of all spin bowlers. That is having runs in the bank, and nearly two days to play with them.

Having just conceded their place to England on the Wisden World Test Championship ratings after its West Indies triumph, New Zealand could celebrate its already assured return to a higher place with an emphatic win before stumps tonight.