Hughes ton extends Australia A's advantage
Australia A 294 for 4 (Hughes 125, Ferguson 56, Waller 1-43) lead Zimbabwe XI 206 for 6 (Sibanda 91, Krejza 3-24) by 64 runs
Australia A pressed home their advantage on the second day at the Country Club in Harare; the fast bowlers recovered from a wicketless start to cut through Zimbabwe XI's lower order in quick time before Phil Hughes' 125 helped them get to 294 for 4 at stumps, a lead of 64.
Zimbabwe's batsmen had done well to deny Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle any joy on the first day, but both quicks made amends after the hosts resumed on 206 for 6. The new ball was taken first thing, and Siddle found it to his liking as he soon trapped Elton Chigumbura in front of his stumps for a 16-ball duck.
Tendai Chatara also failed to get off the mark before he, too, was removed by Siddle, while Brian Vitori managed to reach the boundary once before he presented Hilfenhaus with his first wicket of the match. No. 11 Njabulo Ncube edged his second ball through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine, leaving Malcolm Waller unbeaten on 14 as Zimbabwe were dismissed for 230.
Hughes and David Warner got off to a spirited start in reply, with Warner taking a particular liking to Chatara's seamers. Warner looked set to reach his half-century before falling to Vitori two runs short of the mark shortly before lunch, and after the break Hughes and Usman Khawaja continued to pile on the runs.
The 100 was raised in the 29th over, with Hughes bringing up his fifty shortly afterwards, but Zimbabwe had some relief when Chatara found the edge of Khawaja's bat to dismiss him for 26. That brought Callum Ferguson to the crease, however, and he proceeded to add 104 for the third wicket with Hughes, easing past fifty before he was bowled by one of Waller's offspinners with the score on 233.
Hughes slowed in the afternoon, bringing up a 171-ball hundred after tea, but he helped extend Australia lead to 54 before he finally fell to Chigumbura. Paine and Mitchell Marsh added a further 10 runs before the close, and Zimbabwe will need to show a lot more penetration on the third day if they are to keep the lead under 100.
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo