About the Match
Adjusting to a pitch that provided neither pace nor bounce, New Zealand emerged victorious against Zimbabwe in the first test by an innings and 117 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the 2-match test series. The two teams will fight it out in the 2nd Test at Bulawayo that’s starting from 6th August and the hosts will definitely come back stronger to draw level. There were few glances of brilliance from the Zimbabwean side but the Kiwis dominated in all departments of the game to cruise to a superb win. The visitors got off to a flying start and they will be motivated to make this a clean sweep before heading to South Africa; Zimbabwe on the other hand will try hard to cause some upsets here.
Sean Williams fought a lone battle in the second innings of the first test as he scored a heroic maiden test century, posting 119 from 148 deliveries; he overcame his illness to steady the innings along with Craig Ervine, who posted a half-century while Sikandar Raza and Cremer tried to build partnerships but they were all out for 295 runs by 79 overs.
Earlier, the bowlers put up a disciplined attack with speedsters like Donald Tiripano, Chinouya and medium pacers Chibhabha and Masakadza provided regular breakthroughs while all-rounder spinners Raza and Cremer stifled the opponents but it wasn’t enough to contain the Kiwi hard-hitters. While the economical spells are a good sign, they will try to take more wickets this time around by using the pace and spin resources cleverly.
The batsmen crumbled against the Kiwi pace and need to play more sensible cricket; players like Chibhabha, Masakadza, and Chari will try to build the foundation while experienced seniors like Raza, Williams and Ervine can try to lead from the front to keep their hopes alive.
Speedster Neil Wagner registered his career-best figures of 6-41 in the first innings, performing well with the new and old ball that demolished the Zimbabwean batting line-up to 164 all-out. Along with Southee and Santner taking 2 wickets each at an economy of less than 2 runs per over, the Kiwis dominated right from the start.
The batsmen weren’t far behind as they came with all their guns blazing; Tom Latham, Ross Taylor and Watling posted superb centuries while Williamson and Guptill kept the scoreboard ticking to help post a massive 576 runs on board. While Latham and Watling scored 105 and 107 runs respectively in a patient manner, Taylor remained unbeaten at 173 from 299 deliveries; the batting line-up has done a good job and they can repeat the magic again over the weekend.
Trent Boult’s 4-52 from 17 overs in the 2nd innings was the final nail in the coffin for the hosts and with help from pacemen Southee and Wagner and spinners Santner and Sodhi, New Zealand registered a fantastic win. The bowlers and batsmen are in excellent form and they will leave no stone unturned to seal a 2-0 series win here.
Zimbabwe has good resources with bat and ball, and will try to strategize against the Kiwi batsmen but we feel that New Zealand with their all-round performance are clear favorites to win again