Vettori puts New Zealand in charge
Daniel Vettori made his experience count as his 20th five-wicket haul in Test cricket proved the difference between Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
Daniel Vettori made his experience count as his 20th five-wicket haul in Test cricket proved the difference between Zimbabwe and New Zealand on the third day of their Test match at Queens Sports Club.
Vettori recorded figures of 5 for 70 as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 313, before New Zealand closed day three on 28 for two, giving them an overall lead of 141.
With the fast bowlers struggling to make inroads into the Zimbabwean line-up, the left-arm spinner ensured that the Black Caps maintained control of the match despite the hosts claiming two wickets late in the day.
Martin Guptill was bowled by Kyle Jarvis in the first over of New Zealand's second innings, while Ray Price struck in his first over to trap Brendon McCullum lbw.
That kept Zimbabwe in touch after their batsmen had missed opportunities to put pressure on New Zealand, with Vusi Sibanda and Tatenda Taibu guilty of throwing their wickets away.
Malcolm Waller hit an impressive 72 not out, but with the tail exposed he was left stranded as Zimbabwe managed a total below their expectations.
Waller became the 11th Zimbabwean to make a score of fifty or more on debut – a feat that was achieved by his father, Andrew, against England on this ground in 1996.
Sibanda had resumed on 53 not out and looked set for a maiden Test century until he cut part-time seamer Dean brownlie straight to gull to depart for 93.
Brendan Taylor continued his fine form against New Zealand as he went to lunch on 50 not out, but when he was trapped lbw to Vettori four balls after lunch the hosts needed to rebuild.
Instead Taibu's reckless shot off Vettori found mid-off to leave Zimbabwe on 198 for five, and the hosts were indebted to an 86-run partnership between Waller and Regis Chakabva for avoiding a disastrous total.
The pair saw off the second new ball to take the home side to tea on 265 for five, but another unnecessary dismissal ended the stand when Chakabva was needlessly run out for 37.
That allowed New Zealand to attack Zimbabwe's weak tail, and just 29 runs were added thereafter – most of them by Waller – as Chris Martin picked up two wickets to move past the 200 mark in Test cricket.
"Whenever you come here you know the wicket is going to be pretty flat so it's going to be a lot of work and we expected that today, so to walk off the park 140 runs ahead is a pretty pleasing day and we know tomorrow is going to be the most important day of the Test match," said Vettori.
"I think it's about how much time we give ourselves to bowl at Zimbabwe more than the actual total we put up. We've seen how slow the wicket is – maybe it's starting to break up a bit – but we probably want 100 overs at Zimbabwe, which means 10 overs at the end of tomorrow.
"We have to bat well in the morning and set up up the game for ourselves in the first session, which will hopefully allow us to build some momentum in the middle and late session."
Kane Williamson went to stumps on 13 not out, while nightwatchman Jeetan Patel was unbeaten on four.
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