Dean Brownlie, the New Zealand middle-order batsman, scored a half-century on Test debut to lead his team to 426 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. He said he was pleased with his performance and had played according to the situation, which required New Zealand to score briskly.

''If you'd told me I'd get 63 at the start, I probably would have taken that in my first innings,'' Brownlie told ''I was probably a little bit more nervous than usual but once I got into it I just had to trust my game and my instincts that got me there to start with.''

Brownlie began his innings in the second over of the day, after Ross Taylor was dismissed without adding to his overnight 76. He put on 45 for the fifth wicket with BJ Watling and 81 for the sixth with Daniel Vettori. Brownlie's 63 off 133 balls spanned two and a half hours before an attempted slog sweep against Ray Price resulted in an edge to slip.

''Obviously you'd like to get more and push on to a hundred but the situation required me to be positive and look to score quickly," he said, "So I don't regret anything and I'm definitely happy with it."

Brownlie, 27, was born in Perth, where he developed his game against pace and became a natural back-foot player. He only moved to New Zealand in 2009, qualifying to play for them through his Christchurch-born father, Jim. Brownlie said he was at ease against spin, though, and was able to cope with Price's left-arm orthodox.

''Growing up in Perth, you obviously get tested with the short ball quite a bit and I feel comfortable off the back foot, but I'd like to think I'm strong off the front foot as well,'' he said. ''I'm confident against spin, I try and stick to same principles.''

Wickets tumbled at the Queens Sports Club after Brownlie was dismissed with the score on 401, and New Zealand lost five batsmen for 25 runs to finish short of the 450-500 total Martin Guptill had targeted on the first day. Brownlie, however, said the pitch had changed from the placid first-day track, after Zimbabwe ended the second on 82 for 1.

''If we can get a couple of early wickets tomorrow and bring the spinners into the game, hopefully we can get through them [Zimbabwe] and have another go at them,'' he said. ''Definitely, it's starting to turn so that brings Jeetan Patel and Dan into the game. Dougie [Bracewell] and Tom [Chris Martin] bowled pretty well today, too, and with a little bit of luck we could've had them two or three down.''

New Zealand's next series, after the one-off Test in Zimbabwe, is a tour of Australia and Brownlie said he was eager to take them on. ''I'll get in a four-day match for Canterbury after Zimbabwe and hopefully I score some runs and get picked in that squad. You want to test yourself against the best and I've watched Australia dominate world cricket for the past 20 years so I'd love to take them on.''