Zimbabwe 55 for 0 (Chibhabha 31*, Mawoyo 20*) trail New Zealand 582 for 4 dec. (Latham 136, Taylor 124*, Williamson 113, Guptill 87, Watling 83*) by 527 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Another day of Test cricket in Bulawayo belonged to New Zealand as they piled on the runs on Zimbabwe with three batsmen scoring centuries and two notching half-centuries in their first-innings total of 582 for 4. New Zealand batted for two entire sessions before declaring during the tea break in a bid to take a few wickets in the last session but Zimbabwe's opening stand stood unbroken after 30 overs.
Tino Mawoyo and Chamu Chibhabha saw through the new ball, a short-ball barrage and 11 overs of spin to end the day on a respectable 55 for 0. While Mawoyo, who came in for Brian Chari, was more resolute, Chibhabha offered a few more shots to finish the day on 31 off 89 balls, compared to Mawoyo's 20 off 91 balls. Once New Zealand saw there was no swing on offer for the first five overs, which were all maidens, the slip cordon was trimmed and the leg-side field was packed as Tim Southee and Trent Boult switched to a short-ball strategy. When that did not work either, Kane Williamson brought on the spinners and Neil Wagner but the openers' tactics did not waver to head towards the half-century stand.
Earlier, Ross Taylor became the third centurion of the innings after Tom Latham on day one and Williamson early on day two as New Zealand showed no mercy to Zimbabwe's wearing attack. Taylor and Latham have scored centuries in both matches of this series but it may be the other hundred that grabs the headlines.
The New Zealand captain became the first from his country, the 13th overall and only the second after Younis Khan among the current crop of internationals to score a century against all nine other Test nations. Continuing from 95 overnight, he whipped the eighth ball he faced this morning to the square-leg boundary to bring up the landmark.
He did not hang around for long though, giving Zimbabwe a rare moment of celebration when he edged Michael Chinouya to gully but their joy was shortlived. After Williamson's dismissal, Taylor continued the grind and surpassed his mentor Martin Crowe's tally of 5444 runs to become the third-highest run-scorer in New Zealand's Test history.
All that meant Zimbabwe were subjected to more toil on a surface that offered no assistance. The only indication the bowlers would make any impression on New Zealand's batsmen came early in the day with the second new ball when Chinouya and Donald Tiripano, the pace duo, found some movement. Chinouya beat Taylor twice, but with the pace in upper 120s and no slips in place, they had to work within their limitations.
The quicks bowled seven-over spells each before Graeme Cremer brought himself on and immediately found the drift that was lacking on the first day. He struck off his fifth ball when Henry Nicholls was trapped in front while attempting a sweep. With two wickets for 20 runs, Zimbabwe may have seen an opportunity to claw their way back in, but Taylor and BJ Watling shut them out.
Cremer and offspinner John Nyumbu tried everything to stem the run flow, switching angles from over to around the wicket, and keeping fielders close in but nothing worked. In fact, Craig Ervine, who was stationed under the helmet at short leg, was hit three times by the batsmen as they whipped Cremer away.
Watling's footwork and Taylor's deft touches were a slow burn on Zimbabwe's energy reserves and Cremer turned to the part-timers to buy time. Sean Williams was punished but Prince Masvaure produced the only chance of the afternoon session when he tempted Taylor into reaching for a short and wide ball but debutant wicketkeeper Peter Moor could not hold on to the edge. Six balls later, Taylor drove Williams to long-off to bring up his hundred.
Zimbabwe's disciplines deserted them as the tea break approached and they offered the New Zealand pair several short deliveries which were put away. Almost without trying, the Taylor-Watling stand grew to 193 and the score approached 600 before tea was called and New Zealand decided to declare.