Zimbabwe 164 and 121 for five (Ervine 49*, Raza 37) trail New Zealand 576 for six declared (Taylor 173*, Watling 107, Latham 105) by 291 runs
BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN BULAWAYO
THE Zimbabwe national cricket team plunged deeper into despair with another woeful piece of batting on day three of their first Test against New Zealand and were left perilously staring a crushing defeat.
The home side began their second innings accumulation in the final session after New Zealand declared on 576/6 in their first innings with a lead of 412 runs.
At the end of play yesterday, New Zealand had made inroads with quicks Neil Wagner (1/18), Tim Southee (1/35) and Trent Boult (3/33) tearing into the Zimbabwe line up to leave the hosts on 121/5 with the deficit at a massive 291 runs ahead of day four today.
It could be all over by end of day today, with the tourists needing five wickets to wrap it up. There were fears that the visitors would clean up Zimbabwe yesterday, but a 69 fifth wicket stand between Craig Ervine (49*) and Sikandar Raza Butt (37) allayed such thoughts.
At stumps, Ervine and skipper Graeme Cremer were not out on 49 and 14 respectively and they will resume their task of trying to put some decency on the final outcome.
The hosts lost Hamilton Masakadza for four while Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha and Prince Masvaure lost their wickets for five, seven and nought respectively.
Zimbabwe still have Regis Chakabva and Sean Williams in reserve as well as Donald Tiripano.
The highlight of the day was the Black Caps’ batting where they resumed on an overnight score of 315 for four to take the game further away from Zimbabwe, scoring 576 runs.
Ross Taylor finished unconquered on 173 and he had an able partner in BJ Watling who scored 107 runs before he fell, caught Taurai Muzarabani off the bowling of Raza Butt.
Their partnership for the sixth wicket was worth 253 runs.
The only other wicket taken by Zimbabwe yesterday was that of night-watchman Ish Sodhi who fell to the combination of Mike Chinouya and stand in keeper Chari in the morning session.