Zimbabwe battle back
Fast bowler Chris Mpofu and opening batsman Vusi Sibanda led a Zimbabwe fightback on the second day of the one-off Test against New Zealand in Bulawayo.
New Zealand had looked set for an imposing total after reaching 401 for five midway through the afternoon session, but they suffered a dramatic collapse to 426 all out with Mpofu claiming four of the seven Black Caps wickets to fall today.
Sibanda then took up the baton as Zimbabwe started their first innings, scoring an unbeaten 53 to lead the home side to 82 for one by the close. Hamilton Masakadza was also there on 22 not out after Zimbabwe had lost Tino Mawoyo.
Following a rain delay, New Zealand resumed in a strong position at 275 for three but suffered an early blow when captain Ross Taylor was dismissed in the second over by Test debutant Njabulo Ncube without adding to his overnight score of 76.
Taylor flashed at a wide half-volley from the 22-year-old paceman and edged a catch through to wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva.
Another Test newcomer, Dean Brownlie, added a patient 45 for the fifth wicket in 21 overs with BJ Watling before Zimbabwe struck again to dismiss the latter for 39, Chakabva taking an edge off Mpofu.
New Zealand avoided any more scares before going to lunch on 327 for five and the 27-year-old Brownlie and Daniel Vettori then looked to be batting their side back into control with a sixth-wicket stand of 81.
That took the Black Caps past 400, but the dismissal of Brownlie for 63, caught at first slip off Ray Price, began a slide that saw the visitors lose their final five wickets for just 25.
Vettori was was the first of three consecutive Mpofu scalps, for 40, via a leading edge taken at slip. Doug Bracewell was bowled for nought and Jeetan Patel caught at cover. Price then cleaned up Chris Martin, who recorded his 30th Test duck in 90 innings.
Bracewell - one five players making their Test debuts in the match - tested Zimbabwe’s patience by bowling six successive maidens at the start of his spell.
He was unable to make a breakthrough during that period, but spinner Vettori looked an immediate threat after coming on in the 11th over and, following two loud lbw appeals in the previous four balls, he trapped Mawoyo leg-before.
However, Sibanda and Masakadza shared an unbroken 58-run stand to guide Zimbabwe through to the close, trailing by 344.