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Zimbabwe v New Zealand II Test, Bulawayo - Preview

New Zealand, who won the first Test by an innings, will be looking to wrap up the series with another victory

Zimbabwe v New Zealand II Test, Bulawayo - Preview - Cricket News
Kane Williamson and company do not need to chop and change their batting lineup too much.
Zimbabwe and New Zealand will square up in the final Test of a two-match series at Queen's Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday (August 5) with the visiting team holding a 1-0 lead. New Zealand had wrapped up a big win in the first Test, by an innings and 117 runs.

However, if the Graeme Cremer-led side can lift itself, it will be able to make the second match a more even contest.

Reports stated that seven players in the Zimbabwe squad had been affected by flu after the first Test, but the team physio confirmed that all of Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Chamunorwa Chibhabha and Prince Masvaure had recovered and were fit to play. Some of the New Zealand players were also affected, but in their case, the flu did not spread as badly as it did in the hosts' camp.
However, Zimbabwe will be without Hamilton Masakadza, who strained his lower back in the first Test. John Nyumbu, the 31-year-old offspinner, has been called up in his place. Nyumbu last played an international in October 2015 in a One-Day International against Afghanistan.

In the first Test, a majority of Zimbabwe's batsmen struggled in both innings against an incisive New Zealand bowling attack, though a late fightback in the second innings gave rise to the hope of better things to come. In the first innings, Zimbabwe was eight down for 72 before late resistance from Masvaure and Donald Tiripano took the total to 164.

In the second innings, Chibhabha, Masakadza, Brian Chari and Masvaure all fell cheaply, as New Zealand's pacers bagged the first five wickets for just 86 runs. In the end, a flamboyant ton from Sean Williams led the recovery, something Zimbabwe will hoping to see more of.

Tino Mawoyo, the opening batsman, was ruled out of the first Test after a Tim Southee delivery cracked his thumb in the preceding tour match, but could return to the playing XI if he passes the fitness test for this encounter. Mawoyo, 30, has an average of 30.26 from eight Tests.

In the bowling department, Chris Mpofu, the medium pacer, was called into the Zimbabwean camp ahead of the Test alongside Nyumbu, who is expected to make his way into the playing XI in a bid to bolster the bowling attack.

Nyumbu and Cremer will probably handle the spin responsibilities while Njabulo Ncube, who has played just one Test against New Zealand at the same venue in 2011, and Mpofu are expected to lead the pace attack.

New Zealand had gone into the first Test with three pacers in Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, ably supported by Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner - the two specialist spinners on this tour. Wagner, with eight wickets in the match, was the most successful bowler for the visiting side, ably supported by Boult and Southee in the second innings.

The New Zealand think-tank might choose to rest Wagner, whose calf was strapped during the last day of previous match, and give either Doug Bracewell or Matt Henry a chance in this contest.

As far as the batting unit is concerned, Kane Williamson and company do not need to chop and change much, given three of their batsmen - Ross Taylor, BJ Watling and Tom Latham - scored centuries in the first encounter and the captain himself scored a patient of 91. Jeet Raval, the uncapped opening batsman, will be the only potential contender for a place in the playing XI if New Zealand decides to give him some match practice ahead of the Test series against South Africa that follows this encounter.
Squads (from):

New Zealand:
Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Mark Craig, Jeet Raval, Luke Ronchi.

Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer (capt), Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Prince Masvaure, Regis Chakabva (wk), Donald Tiripano, Michael Chinouya, Tino Mawoyo, Peter Moor, Richmond Mutumbami, Njabulo Ncube, Taurai Muzarabani. 

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