Player of the Match
Player of the Match

First Test, Day 1, close of play report

After two sessions of dour batting, which left Zimbabwe at 105 for two at tea after 69 overs, the batsmen began to come to life after the break, with Andy Flower leading the way in an all too brief cameo. They finished the day on 185 for four (Campbell 37, Wishart 10).

Zimbabwe made a cautious start to the day, the first run coming in the fourth over, and after ten overs they had only eight runs on the board. No doubt in view of Zimbabwe's recent failures at the top of the order it was felt that caution should prevail.

Grant Flower enjoyed three boundaries through extra cover during McMillan's spell as first-change seamer, while Rennie concentrated only on survival, no doubt following instructions. Vettori finally broke the stand with a ball that spun sharply to take the shoulder of Flower's bat to be very well caught by Parore at the second attempt. He scored 24 and Zimbabwe were 40 for one. Carlisle, replacing Goodwin at three, settled in for lunch, when Zimbabwe were 51 for one.

After lunch the pair continued steadily, with Rennie progressing to 36 in 207 minutes before he drove at Wiseman and was well caught low down by the diving McMillan at short extra cover; 91 for two in the 59th over. Campbell continued the war of attrition, despite looking a far more confident batsman in Test cricket than he has done for over a year.

The waiting game eventually eroded Carlisle's concentration when on 38, after tea, as he went on a big hit against Wiseman without getting to the line, and skied a catch to Horne at extra cover; Zimbabwe 120 for three.

Andy Flower obviously decided that the time had come to carry the attack to the tourists. After playing himself in for a few minutes, he swung Wiseman over midwicket for two successive sixes. New Zealand responded by taking the second new ball, but Flower switched his assault to Cairns, taking ten off an over. Cairns got revenge, though, by having him caught at second slip by Astle for 29, driving outside off stump, and Zimbabwe were 157 for four. Once again a batsman had laid a firm foundation but failed to build on it; nevertheless he had raised the tempo of the game.

Wishart looked positive from the start and survived with Campbell to the close. Zimbabwe's position was perhaps no better than average considering the excellence of the pitch.