New Zealand seal win as Zimbabwe capitulate
After putting up a reasonable fight for most of the third day, despite two suicidal run-outs, Zimbabwe capitulated feebly after tea to the pace of Shane Bond, who took 4 for 48, and went down to New Zealand by an innings and 46 runs at Bulawayo to lose the Test series 2-0.
The morning session saw New Zealand fail to reach 500, perhaps the minimum score they had been aiming for, as their last three wickets fell quickly and they were dismissed for 484. Heath Streak took 4 for 73 and Blessing Mahwire 3 for 121. This included the wicket of Nathan Astle for a disciplined 128, taken by surprise by a ball from Streak that cut back to bowl him between bat and pad. Zimbabwe went in to bat 253 runs behind and with defeat virtually inevitable.
The Zimbabweans batted quite strangely in their second innings, with periods of grafting giving way to spells of almost abandoned batting. There were six sixes in the innings, and some running between wickets that evoked memories of the Keystone Cops, two of which ended in run-outs.
In the brief period before lunch, Zimbabwe lost Dion Ebrahim, the opener, caught off the splice when taken unawares by a rearing ball from Bond, and Stuart Carlisle, who ran himself out attempting an unlikely single. Afterwards Hamilton Masakadza took the attack to the bowlers, showing his class but without the look of the solid player who scored a century on his Test debut four years ago. He hit Daniel Vettori for two sixes in an over before being beaten and bowled by a quicker arm ball for 28.
This was followed by another foolish run-out, Craig Wishart going without facing a ball, thanks to some brilliant fielding from Bond at mid-off after Brendon Taylor called for a risky single. Taylor played some fine strokes and reached his fifty off 99 balls, but still has much to learn about working singles.
Zimbabwe went in to tea at 134 for 4 and no doubt expected to hold out until the following morning, but they found themselves unable to cope with Bond, returning with the old ball. A slower delivery accounted for Taylor, who had held the innings together with a gallant 77; deceived by the slower delivery, he chipped an easy catch to mid-on.
This opened the floodgates. In the following over Tatenda Taibu (25) failed to spot Vettori's arm ball and was trapped lbw and Streak's miserable batting form continued. However, Blessing Mahwire came out determined to fight, as he had done in the first innings, and laid into pace and spin alike as he hammered an unbeaten 50 off only 34 balls, the fastest for Zimbabwe in Test cricket.
The innings ended in typically bizarre fashion as last man Chris Mpofu, after completing the single to bring Mahwire his 50, trotted down the pitch again to congratulate his partner and was promptly run out. The whole day's play seemed to show exactly the state of Zimbabwe cricket today: talented but raw, impetuous and naïve, and scarcely ready for Test cricket at present.
Nathan Astle b Streak 128 (475 for 8)
Surprised by an offcutter that bowled him through the gate
James Franklin lbw b Streak 19 (484 for 9)
Missed a straight ball, perhaps pitched marginally outside leg stump
Shane Bond b Mahwire 8 (484 all out)
Aiming for a six over cow corner, dragged the ball on to middle stump
Zimbabwe second innings
Dion Ebrahim c Styris b Bond 2 (4 for 1)
Rearing delivery on stumps, flew off splice, taken by slip running back
Stuart Carlisle run out (J Marshall) 10 (19 for 2)
Called for risky single to midwicket, sent back but direct hit by James Marshall
Hamilton Masakadza b Vettori 28 (69 for 3)
Quicker ball, straight through, late on stroke
Craig Wishart run out (Bond/McCullum) 0 (69 for 4) Late in responding to call by Taylor for risky single to mid-off
Brendan Taylor c Vettori b Bond 77 (146 for 5)
Deceived by slower ball, chipped simple catch to mid-on
Tatenda Taibu lbw b Vettori 25 (146 for 6)
Played down the wrong line
Heath Streak c McCullum b Bond 2 (153 for 7)
Unable to withdraw bat in time to ball outside off, touch to keeper
Keith Dabengwa c McCullum b Bond 4 (164 for 8)
Edged a lifing ball to the keeper
Graeme Cremer lbw b Vettori 1 (175 for 9)
Hit on toe by flighted delivery while playing across line
Chris Mpofu run out (Vettori/McCullum) 3 (207 all out)
Completed single that brought Mahwire to 50, and trotted back down the pitch to congratulate him without waiting for the ball to be adjudged dead