New Zealand Edge Zimbabwe in Test Thriller

Few would have expected this match to end as closely as it did, but right down to the final session on Day Five all three possible results were very much in play. Going back to day one, though, it seems that the Queen's pitch was on course to produce a tame display, as New Zealand, batting first after winning the toss, helped themselves to what the batting-friendly pitch offered to ease to 275/3 at the close, with Martin Guptill (109) providing the backbone of the innings. Day One to the Kiwis.

Day Two saw the first of several swings in fortune, though, as Chris Mpofu worked out how to get some life from the pitch and, taking 4/92 in the innings, did the bulk of the work in bowling the visitors out for 426, a total probably 100 short of what they would have been hoping for. Ray Price took 2/118, while Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza and debutante Njabulo Ncube took one each. In reply, Zimbabwe reached 82/1 (Tino Mawoyo the man out), rounding off a day that Zim coach Alan Butcher called the side's best day of cricket since their Test return. Day Two to Zimbabwe.

Masakadza got Day Three off to a bad start for the hosts, falling without adding to the overnight score. Impressive contributions from Sibanda (93), Waller (72*) and Taylor (50)kept Zimbabwe in the chase, but a tendency to throw wickets away - and a tail that, like New Zealand's before them, didn't add much) saw Zimbabwe bowled out for 313, conceding a 113-run. Two quick wickets before the close of play, though, saw New Zealand end the day on 28/2 - not exactly the start they would have wanted. Day Three, honours even.

Day Four seemed to be reserved for when New Zealand would declare, with any lead over 300 generally expected to be good enough to deny Zimbabwe a chance of victory. Nightwatchman Patel departed early in the day, as expected, but Williamson (68) and Taylor (76) added 119 for the 4th wicket, putting New Zealand in the driving seat - briefly. A spate of quick wickets, as Kyle Jarvis took the first 5'fer since Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket, raised the prospect of the visitors being bowled out - but Ross Taylor called his side back on 252/8, setting Zimbabwe a target of 366 for victory. Some would suggest that with Chris "The Phantom" Martin being the man who did not bat, hanging around any longer wouldn't have made much difference anyway. With four sessions to reach a tempting total, Zimbabwe started off fairly cautiously, but lost Sibanda (13) early and Masakadza (19) to a silly shot on the final ball of the day. Still, despite the late losses, Zimbabwe edged the day.

The final day was straightforward on paper: New Zealand needed 8 wickets to win, Zimbabwe needed 305 runs more, and after losing only 1 wicket in the morning session (Mawoyo, for 52), whispers of "could they?" were beginning to become louder. In the afternoon session, Taylor and Taibu combined to frustrate the Kiwis further, adding another 94 runs for no loss and leaving Zimbabwe at tea requiring 101 runs for victory, with 7 wickets in hand. The departure of Taylor (117) in the first over after tea - some would say well-deserved, after a disputed appeal for a catch in shortly before tea saw Taylor saved by poor-quality replays - sparked the beginning of a Zimbabwean collapse, as the side was unable to form another partnership to see the innings through. From 265/4 at Taylor's departure, they collapsed to 331 all out, 34 short of their target. But to their credit, the side never gave up pushing for the win when many other sides would have battened down the hatches and settled for a draw, a move that seems to have earned them quite a few new fans. They may have lost, but it wasn't for lack of trying - and New Zealand certainly were given a scare they won't forget in a while. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 426 (143.3 overs; Guptill 109, Mpofu 4/92) & 252/8d (71 overs; Taylor 76, Jarvis 5/64), Zimbabwe 313 (121.5 overs; Sibanda 93, Vettori 5/70) & 331 (108.1 overs; Taylor 117, Bracewell 5/85). New Zealand win by 34 runs.

New Zealand 1st innings	
							R	M	B	4s	6s	SR
MJ Guptill	c Taibu b Masakadza			109	323	236	11	2	46.18
BB McCullum	b Jarvis				14	44	27	2	0	51.85
KS Williamson	run out (Price/†Chakabva)		49	101	92	6	0	53.26
LRPL Taylor*	c †Chakabva b Ncube			76	227	165	9	0	46.06
BJ Watling	c †Chakabva b Mpofu			39	136	96	5	0	40.62
DG Brownlie	c Taylor b Price			63	154	133	7	0	47.36
DL Vettori	c Taylor b Mpofu			40	89	58	5	1	68.96
RA Young†	not out					9	53	35	1	0	25.71
DAJ Bracewell	b Mpofu					0	5	2	0	0	0.00
JS Patel	c Mawoyo b Mpofu			12	18	17	1	1	70.58
CS Martin	 b Price				0	4	3	0	0	0.00
	Extras	(b 7, lb 3, w 2, nb 3)			15					
	Total	(all out; 143.3 overs; 582 mins)	426	(2.96 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-40 (McCullum, 10.4 ov), 2-115 (Williamson, 37.3 ov), 3-247 (Guptill, 81.4 ov), 
4-275 (Taylor, 91.5 ov), 5-320 (Watling, 112.6 ov), 6-401 (Brownlie, 131.4 ov), 7-407 (Vettori, 136.5 ov), 
8-407 (Bracewell, 138.1 ov), 9-425 (Patel, 142.5 ov), 10-426 (Martin, 143.3 ov)

Bowling		O	M	R	W	Econ		
KM Jarvis	28	6	98	1	3.50	(3nb, 1w)	
N Ncube		25	4	80	1	3.20		
CB Mpofu	34	10	92	4	2.70	(1w)	
RW Price	42.3	7	118	2	2.77		
H Masakadza	11	4	20	1	1.81		
MN Waller	3	0	8	0	2.66		


Zimbabwe 1st innings	
							R	M	B	4s	6s	SR
TMK Mawoyo	c Watling b Vettori			5	52	43	0	0	11.62
V Sibanda	c Taylor b Brownlie			93	237	193	11	1	48.18
H Masakadza	b Bracewell				22	99	85	1	0	25.88
BRM Taylor*	lbw b Vettori				50	113	75	3	2	66.66
T Taibu		c Patel b Vettori			20	38	47	2	0	42.55
MN Waller	not out					72	191	133	9	1	54.13
RW Chakabva†	run out (†Young/Bracewell)		37	136	115	3	0	32.17
RW Price	lbw b Vettori				0	8	6	0	0	0.00
KM Jarvis	c Taylor b Martin			6	20	20	1	0	30.00
CB Mpofu	c Williamson b Vettori			0	6	5	0	0	0.00
N Ncube	 	b Martin				3	12	10	0	0	30.00
	Extras	(lb 3, w 1, nb 1)			5					
	Total	(all out; 121.5 overs; 461 mins)	313	(2.56 runs per over)

Fall of wickets:1-24 (Mawoyo, 12.5 ov), 2-83 (Masakadza, 41.6 ov), 3-159 (Sibanda, 61.6 ov), 
4-193 (Taylor, 72.4 ov), 5-198 (Taibu, 74.5 ov), 6-284 (Chakabva, 110.3 ov), 7-286 (Price, 112.3 ov), 
8-299 (Jarvis, 117.5 ov), 9-300 (Mpofu, 118.5 ov), 10-313 (Ncube, 121.5 ov)

Bowling		O	M	R	W	Econ		
CS Martin	25.5	6	74	2	2.86		
DAJ Bracewell	23	12	51	1	2.21	(1nb, 1w)	
DL Vettori	43	13	70	5	1.62		
JS Patel	23	1	91	0	3.95		
DG Brownlie	4	0	13	1	3.25		
KS Williamson	2	0	9	0	4.50		
MJ Guptill	1	0	2	0	2.00		


New Zealand 2nd innings	
							R	M	B	4s	6s	SR
BB McCullum	lbw b Price				11	25	14	1	0	78.57
MJ Guptill	b Jarvis				0	3	3	0	0	0.00
KS Williamson	lbw b Jarvis				68	198	140	8	1	48.57
JS Patel	b Jarvis				9	19	24	0	0	37.50
LRPL Taylor*	lbw b Jarvis				76	193	130	4	2	58.46
BJ Watling	c Taylor b Price			3	26	22	0	0	13.63
DL Vettori	c Ncube b Mpofu				31	76	42	3	0	73.80
DG Brownlie	b Jarvis				9	17	13	0	1	69.23
RA Young†	not out					35	45	37	5	1	94.59
DAJ Bracewell	not out					1	10	4	0	0	25.00
	Extras	(b 3, lb 3, nb 3)			9					
	Total	(8 wickets dec; 71 overs; 313 mins)	252	(3.54 runs per over)

Did not bat: CS Martin

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Guptill, 0.5 ov), 2-23 (McCullum, 5.1 ov), 3-36 (Patel, 10.6 ov), 
4-155 (Williamson, 48.5 ov), 5-167 (Watling, 53.4 ov), 6-179 (Taylor, 56.5 ov), 7-199 (Brownlie, 60.5 ov), 
8-236 (Vettori, 68.4 ov)

Bowling		O	M	R	W	Econ		
KM Jarvis	18	1	64	5	3.55	(3nb)	
N Ncube		10	0	41	0	4.10		
RW Price	29	5	87	2	3.00		
CB Mpofu	14	1	54	1	3.85		


Zimbabwe 2nd innings (target: 366 runs)	
							R	M	B	4s	6s	SR
TMK Mawoyo	b Guptill				52	191	154	5	0	33.76
V Sibanda	lbw b Bracewell				13	37	27	2	0	48.14
H Masakadza	c Brownlie b Bracewell			19	58	47	2	0	40.42
BRM Taylor*	c Watling b Martin			117	242	147	8	5	79.59
T Taibu		c Guptill b Vettori			63	189	163	6	1	38.65
MN Waller	lbw b Vettori				29	106	62	3	0	46.77
RW Chakabva†	c †Young b Bracewell			5	29	18	0	0	27.77
N Ncube	 	b Bracewell				14	19	13	0	1	107.69
RW Price	c †Young b Bracewell			4	9	9	1	0	44.44
KM Jarvis	not out					2	12	7	0	0	28.57
CB Mpofu	lbw b Vettori				0	7	6	0	0	0.00
	Extras	(b 5, lb 4, nb 4)			13					
	Total	(all out; 108.1 overs; 453 mins)	331	(3.06 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-25 (Sibanda, 8.2 ov), 2-61 (Masakadza, 23.4 ov), 3-157 (Mawoyo, 48.2 ov), 
4-265 (Taylor, 85.2 ov), 5-287 (Taibu, 94.3 ov), 6-303 (Chakabva, 99.4 ov), 7-321 (Ncube, 103.5 ov), 
8-329 (Price, 105.5 ov), 9-329 (Waller, 106.1 ov), 10-331 (Mpofu, 108.1 ov)

Bowling		O	M	R	W	Econ		
CS Martin	22	3	85	1	3.86		
DAJ Bracewell	25	2	85	5	3.40	(4nb)	
DL Vettori	38.1	14	71	3	1.86		
JS Patel	13	1	51	0	3.92		
MJ Guptill	9	0	28	1	3.11		
DG Brownlie	1	0	2	0	2.00		


Match details
Toss: New Zealand, who chose to bat
Series: New Zealand won the one-off match
Test debuts: DAJ Bracewell and DG Brownlie (New Zealand); RW Chakabva, N Ncube and MN Waller (Zimbabwe)
Player of the match: DL Vettori (New Zealand)