Whittall, restored to the Zimbabwe side along with seam bowlers Olonga and Mbangwa, batted almost eight hours over the last two days in a valiant attempt to prevent New Zealand winning the series 2-0. His, and the team's, resistance was in total contrast to their first innings, in which the last six wickets fell for 20 runs in 13 overs starting with the loss of Whittall immediately before tea on the third afternoon. Faced with a deficit of 299, there was no question of them not following on and, at 48 for four next day, they were looking down the barrel of a heavy innings defeat.
Century partnerships of 135 between Richardson and Astle and of 144 between Cairns and Nash - beating New Zealand's record for the eighth wicket, which Nash previously shared with Vettori for their 137 against India in 1998-99 - were the framework for 465, the highest total in Tests between these sides. Nash had come in for the injured Vettori, while at the top of the order Spearman replaced Horne, who damaged his hand fielding in the First Test. A slow opening day ended with the dismissal of Richardson for 99, and there were already signs that the game was getting away from Zimbabwe. Olonga's pace and bounce, backed up by sharp catching behind the bat, had helped them share the first two sessions, but they let the New Zealanders add 95 between tea and the close. Cairns dominated the second day with his fourth Test hundred, hitting three sixes and 13 fours in 124 from 174 balls. He finally fell to Strang, one ball after Nash, when he was stumped by a rebound from Andy Flower's gloves. A few minutes later, brother Grant wrapped up the innings, having bowled nearly 21 overs without exciting either umpire in the way he had Darrell Hair at Bulawayo.
Cairns soon had Rennie caught at third slip, but next morning Grant Flower and Carlisle batted through to lunch and there was no suggestion of the collapse that would follow. The New Zealanders were keeping their cricket tight, however, and eventually the pressure told. Not until Andy Flower and Whittall joined forces to add 131 in Zimbabwe's second innings was the visitors' thrust frustrated. Flower, when 59, became the first Zimbabwean to reach 3,000 runs in Tests. The new ball and a stunning catch by Sinclair at backward point broke the stand, but Streak, Flower's successor as captain, saw Whittall reach his third Test hundred with a four, two and straight six off consecutive balls from Astle. Next day they extended their partnership to 151 before the third new ball broke Zimbabwe's resistance, claiming four wickets in eight overs. Although Mbangwa held on at the end for ten overs, his run-out two balls after the delayed tea interval - leaving Whittall unbeaten with 188 (two sixes, 27 fours) from 429 balls - gave New Zealand 18 overs for the 72 runs that would make Fleming his country's most successful Test captain, with 12 wins in 29 Tests. The previous record was Geoff Howarth's 11 wins in 30 Tests. Cairns's dramatic one-handed six over long-leg summed up the match even more emphatically than the margin.
Man of the Match: C. L. Cairns.