Boult strikes after New Zealand piles up 576
Centuries from Ross Taylor and BJ Watling, coupled with a three-wicket haul from Trent Boult, moved New Zealand to a strong position against Zimbabwe in the first Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday (July 30).
Taylor had scored an unbeaten 173 and Watling had made 107 when New Zealand declared on 576 for 6 with a lead of 412. Boult then struck thrice in six deliveries to leave Zimbabwe 17 for 4. By the close, the home team had recovered somewhat, but was still precariously placed on 121 for 5.
Tim Southee and Neil Wagner bagged one wicket apiece to lend support to Boult.
For Zimbabwe, Craig Ervine’s unbeaten 49 ensured that the encounter went into the fourth day after the initial strikes. He put on 69 for the fifth wicket with Sikandar Raza, before the latter fell to Wagner. However, Zimbabwe still needs 291 runs to make New Zealand bat again.
Earlier in the day, Taylor brought up his 14th Test century and converted it into an unbeaten 173, while Watling finished with 107 off 172 balls.
New Zealand lost Ish Sodhi, the nightwatchman, in the second over of the day as it resumed on 315 for 4, but that only allowed Taylor and Watling to get on with their productive alliance. Taylor started the day on 38 and reached 87 by the lunch interval, while Watling was untroubled throughout his innings and scored progressively quicker as the day wore on.
The pair added 120 runs in the second session without offering any chance to Zimbabwe. By tea, the duo had taken New Zealand to 543 for 5. Kane Williamson declared the innings after tea when Watling became the sixth wicket to fall, caught off Raza.
The home side was not helped by the continued absence of Sean Williams and Regis Chakabva through illness. Without Williams’s left-arm spin, Graeme Cremer, the legspinner, wheeled his way through 53 overs.
Zimbabwe was bowled out for 164 on the opening day of the Test, when Wagner recorded career-best figures of 6 for 41.