Zimbabwe v New Zealand Tests 2016
Devine Ervine halts Black Caps charge
Zimbabwe batsman scores maiden Test century as home side put up a fight to frustrate Boult and the Black Caps
9 August 2016, 07:15 AM AEST
Craig Ervine scored a maiden Test century to help Zimbabwe hold up New Zealand's victory charge on day three of the second Test and steer the home side to 6-305 in their first innings by stumps on Monday.
The featherbed pitch at the Queens Sports Club is a batsman's paradise with just 10 wickets falling in 270 overs in the game so far, as Zimbabwe chipped away at the visitors' first-innings score of 4-582 declared.
Ervine took advantage of the conditions to crash an unbeaten 115 after forming a 148-run sixth wicket partnership with debutant Peter Moor (71).
He will be joined on Tuesday by captain Graeme Cremer (two not out) as the home side look to avoid the follow-on, needing 78 more runs to make New Zealand bat again.
Zimbabwe started the day on 55-0 and it took until the end of the 36th over of their innings for the tourists to make a breakthrough as Tim Southee bowled opener Tino Mawoyo (26).
Sikandar Raza (three) steered Neil Wagner to Kane Williamson at gully, before the latter dived full stretch at short cover to dismiss Chamu Chibhabha (60) with a stunning catch off spinner Mitchell Santner.
Zimbabwe were teetering when Santner bowled Prince Masvaure (two) and Ish Sodhi trapped Sean Williams (16) leg before wicket to reduce the hosts to 147-5.
Ervine and Moor embarked on a patient rebuild of the innings, with the latter undoing some of his good work when he fell late in the day to a reckless shot as he pulled a poor delivery from Sodhi straight to Martin Guptill at midwicket.
New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen has some sympathy for Trent Boult after he went wicketless on day three. The left-armer toiled away on a tame wicket conceding just 37 runs from his 21 overs.
He had an lbw appeal against Chamu Chibhabha denied early in the day at Bulawayo's Queens Sports Club before seeing Sean Williams dropped on a duck by wicket-keeper BJ Watling.
"He's improved every spell on this tour so far. He's got a lot more confidence and is really hitting the wicket hard. I think he's been quite unlucky," said Jurgensen.
"He's bowled really well and has missed out so far, but that's what happens on these types of wickets sometimes."
While Boult couldn't make a breakthrough the remainder of the Black Caps attack made steady inroads, reducing Zimbabwe to 147-5 before Ervine and Moor put on their stand.
"We probably didn't bowl quite as well as we wanted to with the second new ball," conceded Jurgensen.
"Credit to the Zimbabwe batters they batted well. We know they are not going to lie down so we just had to keep fighting."
But Jurgensen remained confident the Blacks Caps were still a good chance of closing out the Test with two days remaining and the visitors into the batting tail.
"It's still only day three and from our perspective we've got the runs on the board and we've still got a lot of time in the game," he said.
"There were signs today that the carry is starting to get a bit lower and it maybe took a bit more turn than the last two days. So hopefully there will be a little bit more for the bowlers."
New Zealand lead the two-match series 1-0 after an innings and 117-run victory in the first Test at the same venue.