Zimbabwe take the honours on day two

Zimbabwe claimed the honours on the second day of their Test against New Zealand, but are likely to face a trial by spin on day three.

Zimbabwe claimed the honours on the second day of their Test against New Zealand, but are likely to face a trial by spin as they continue their response to New Zealand's first innings total of 426 in Bulawayo.

The hosts closed on 82 for one, with Vusi Sibanda leading the charge with an unbeaten half-century after Chris Mpofu's career-best figures in Test cricket saw New Zealand lose their last five wickets for just 25 runs.

Sibanda's confident 53 came off 123 balls, but he wasn't shy about bringing out the pull shot to pick up boundaries at any opportunity.

He was well supported by Hamilton Masakadza in an unbroken 58-run stand for the second wicket after an overly tentative Tino Mawoyo had been trapped lbw in Daniel Vettori's second over of the match.

Although the pitch remained true throughout the day, it took increasing turn and Vettori will remain Zimbabwe's toughest opponent with the ball as their innings progresses.

Mpofu recorded figures of 4 for 92, and saved his best spell for last as he sent down six overs to take three for 14 as he wrapped up the tail in quick time.

Left-arm spinner Ray Price picked up the first and last wickets of the sequence that saw New Zealand's lower order cumble, with Mpofu removing the three batsmen in between.

Dean Brownlie's half-century on debut seemed to have set New Zealand up for a declaration as he lifted the scoring rate with Vettori after lunch.

A disciplined bowling performance from Zimbabwe had seen them pick up two wickets and restrict the New Zealand scoring on the second morning, but Vettori took just two deliveries after the break to find the boundary.

The pair added 74 runs in 14 overs as they took the attack to Zimbabwe, until Brownlie paid the price for over-aggression as a swipe across the line at a Price delivery resulted in an edge to slip, ending his innings on 63.

Meanwhile Vettori raced to 40 from just 58 deliveries as he took a particular liking to Price, but was caught at slip off the bowling of Mpofu to spark a late collapse.

Morning rain had meant that play was delayed by 45 minutes at the start of the day by a wet outfield, but with lunch pushed back by half an hour only 15 minutes were lost from the opening session.

With conditions freshened up by the rain, and a relatively new second ball still in hand, Njabulo Ncube picked up his first Test wicket in his first over of the day as he snatched the big scalp of Ross Taylor.

The New Zealand captain failed to add to his overnight score of 76 before he chased a wide delivery and edged through to the wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva.

Mpofu picked up the other wicket of the first session, surprising BJ Watling with a lifting delivery that caught the edge on its way to Chakabva, who took a good one-handed catch low to his right.

The majority of the morning saw Zimbabwe set defensive fields and bowl strict lines, which allowed the Black Caps to add just 52 runs over the course of 27 overs.

Martin Guptill's second Test century formed the backbone of the New Zealand innings on the first day, when his 109 allowed the tourists to reach 275 for three at stumps on Tuesday evening.

<b>Tristan Holme in Bulawayo</b>