Guptill gives Kiwis strong foundation
Martin Guptill made the most of benign batting conditions at Queens Sports Club to record his seventh Test fifty on the first day of New Zealand's Test against Zimbabwe.
Life in Bulawayo never moves at any great pace, and day one of the Test match between Zimbabwe and New Zealand reflected that as the tourists eased serenely to 275 for three at stumps.
As had been expected the Queens Sports Club pitch gave the Zimbabwe bowlers little to work with, and New Zealand's batsmen cashed in after their captain Ross Taylor had won the toss and elected to bat first.
Martin Guptill's second Test century was the highlight, while Taylor ended the day unbeaten on 76 with BJ Watling (16 not out) for company, as the Black Caps set themselves up for a big total.
In truth Zimbabwe's bowlers did little wrong, and after using what little swing was available in the first session to attack, they tightened up in the second session and made scoring as difficult as possible when conditions eased for the batsmen.
Guptill mixed patience and aggression to good effect, allowing himself quiet spells in the face of tight bowling but also launching the ball back over Ray Price's head whenever the left-arm spinner provided the opportunity.
The 25-year-old had two close calls during his innings, with a strong drive going straight through Price's hands shortly before lunch, and then Bruce Oxenford turning down a decent shout for lbw by Jarvis.
He went to 99 with a huge six over long-off, and then went to three figures two deliveries later as he pulled a Price long-hop through midwicket for four.
"Any time you score a hundred is a good time, but it was quite difficult out there today so I was very pleased to come away with one," Guptill said afterwards.
"There was a little bit of swing in the first few overs and then it went away and it was pretty straight up and down, but they bowled well and set straight fields which made it difficult to score runs.
"They were very discplined so the way that Ross Taylor and I batted, I think we did quite well."
Guptill was well supported by Taylor in a 132-run partnership for the third wicket, but was out in disappointing fashion when he pulled part-timer Hamilton Masakadza straight to midwicket to depart for 109.
That allowed Zimbabwe to claim a wicket in every session, after Kyle Jarvis had forced Brendon McCullum to play on in the first hour of the day and Price had run out Kane Williamson in one of the stranger dismissals one could witness.
Williamson was on 49 when he came down the pitch to push a Price delivery back to the bowler. Price's return throw to wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva was good, but would not have found Williamson short of his ground had he used his bat. However with the batsman instead looking to stride back into his crease in lackadaisical fashion, he was caught with his toe on the line by the third umpire.
Zimbabwe's poor fielding haunted them once again in the dying moments of the day, as both Taylor and Watling were dropped in the final half hour.
Taylor was fortunate to see his thin edge down the leg side off Chris Mpofu's bowling dropped by the wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva, while Watling edged a delivery from Kyle Jarvis past first slip just a few overs later.
That reflected a threatening spell from both ends with the second new ball, which will still have some shine on it when play resumes on Wednesday morning.
A total of five new caps were handed out at the start of the day, as Njabulo Ncube, Malcolm Waller and Regis Chakabva made their debuts for Zimbabwe and Dean Brownlie and Doug Bracewell were included in New Zealand's Test side for the first time.
<b>Tristan Holme in Bulawayo</b>
England finish with a flourish in Lahore to wrap up T20 series win over Pakistan
Dawid Malan led the way with an unbeaten 78 as the tourists won the decider in the seven-match series by 67 runs.
Dawid Malan shines as England set Pakistan 210 to win Twenty20 series decider
Harry Brook added an unbeaten 46 as England made 209 for three in Lahore.
David Saker backs England bowlers to make splash at Twenty20 World Cup
He has been working closely with the team over the course of an entertaining back-and-forth series.
Phil Salt grateful for England backing after starring in big win over Pakistan
The opener had scored just 59 runs in his first five innings on tour but blazed 87 not out to guide England to victory over Pakistan on Friday.
Phil Salt powers England to emphatic win over Pakistan as series goes to decider
Opener Salt scored an unbeaten 88 as England won by eight wickets.
Unbeaten Babar Azam gives Pakistan shot at wrapping up England series
Babar held court throughout the 20 overs and guided his team to 169 for six.
Liam Norwell saves Warwickshire as Yorkshire suffer relegation to Division Two
Norwell’s career-best nine wickets for 62 runs sealed a five-run win over Hampshire on a thrilling final day of the season.
DCMS hearing on discrimination in cricket pencilled in for December 13
Azeem Rafiq and Lord Patel are set to be asked to appear.
England captain Jos Buttler ‘learning lots’ despite not playing in Pakistan
Buttler has a calf injury, which has ruled him out of the T20 series so far, but he insisted on travelling and has been observing throughout the trip.
We’re a better team than that – England’s batting disappoints Moeen Ali
The tourists were unable to make 146 in their Twenty20 chase against Pakistan.