Guptill expects pitch to deteriorate
Martin Guptill, the New Zealand opener, has said he expects the pitch at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo to deteriorate as the Test progresses and that a large first-innings total would put Zimbabwe out of the contest. Guptill scored a century to lead New Zealand to 275 for 3 on a surface that had no assistance for either the fast bowlers or the spinners. The pace was slow, the ball did not come on to the bat, there was little turn and the bounce was low.
"It's already starting to show some wear and tear,'' Guptill told APNZ. "There are already a few balls bouncing through to the keeper after day one. We are definitely looking at 450-500. If we can get that, it's going to be very difficult for them [Zimbabwe] to put pressure on us to bat again.''
Guptill scored his second century in 16 Tests after New Zealand had won the toss, his 109 off 236 balls anchoring the innings and giving his team the advantage. The effort continued his terrific form in Zimbabwe, where he scored 107 in the two Twenty20s and 179 in two ODIs.
"I'm just riding the wave as it goes,'' Guptill said. "They bowled really well to us today. It was a bit of a relief, really. It's been a year-and-a-half since my last Test hundred. It's nice to be in the middle and scoring runs. It doesn't happen every day so when you are out there you have to try and make the most of it.''
Guptill, however, said it was "pretty disappointing" to get out the way he did - pulling a long hop from part-time medium-pacer Hamilton Masakadza straight to midwicket late in the day.
New Zealand's solid position was based on the 75-run partnership between Guptill and Kane Williamson after Brendon McCullum had fallen early. Williamson was in good form before a freakish run-out in the second session ended his innings on 49. "He's a freakish talent,'' Guptill said about Williamson. "He knows what he's doing with the bat. He's in a great place at the moment to be one of New Zealand's greatest batsmen ever.''