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Late wickets keep New Zealand on track for victory

Zimbabwe ends fourth day on 58 for 3 after being set a target of 387 in second Test

Late wickets keep New Zealand on track for victory - Cricket News
Set a target of 387, Zimbabwe ended on 58 for 3 at stumps.

New Zealand’s seamers struck three vital blows on the fourth evening to keep the side on track for victory in the second Test against Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday (August 9). It began with Neil Wagner getting the wicket of Chamu Chibhabha 40 minutes before the close, and in the final three balls, Trent Boult and Tim Southee took a wicket each as Zimbabwe ended on 58 for 3 at stumps, having been set a steep 387 for victory.

In the morning, New Zealand had bowled Zimbabwe out for 362, but though the team had a 220-run lead, Kane Williamson, the captain, opted against enforcing the follow-on. Williamson and Ross Taylor then put on an unbroken partnership of 140 in just 30 overs to swell New Zealand's lead before Williamson declared on 166 for 2, giving his bowlers 26 overs to bowl at Zimbabwe's batsmen.

Zimbabwe began well, with Chibhabha and Tino Mawoyo progressing smoothly, but the late wickets meant the home team went from 45 without loss to 58 for 3. 

What could add to Zimbabwe's confidence is how well the team had battled in the first innings, with Craig Ervine leading the way with a fine 146. Ervine had reached a maiden Test ton on the third day, and resuming on an overnight 115, he kept the fight going until he was the last man out. 

With Ervine ensuring New Zealand bowled 143.4 overs, Williamson opted to give his bowlers some rest by batting again. The New Zealand captain notched another milestone in the process, as his unbeaten 68 made him just the fourth player to score fifty or more in his first three Test innings as captain. West Indies' Rohan Kanhai, South Africa's Kepler Wessels and India’s Virat Kohli are the other three.

Meanwhile, Taylor continued his remarkable series with the bat, making 67 not out to take his series tally to 364 runs without being dismissed.

New Zealand declared shortly after tea, and Boult was optimistic of forcing a result  and clinching the series 2-0 series on the final day.

Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre

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