Cricket: Black Caps record biggest test victory

By Kris Shannon

Doug Bracewell of New Zealand is congratulated on the wicket of Malcolm Waller of Zimbabwe. Photo / Getty Images
Doug Bracewell of New Zealand is congratulated on the wicket of Malcolm Waller of Zimbabwe. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand bowled out Zimbabwe twice on the third day to win the one-off test in Napier by an innings and 301 runs today - their biggest ever test victory.

The victory was the Black Caps' third test win in their last four matches, and came after a dominant day with the ball which saw them claim 20 Zimbabwean wickets for just 194 runs.

The margin of victory surpasses New Zealand's previous best of an innings and 294 runs, against the same opposition in Harare in 2005.

The win also saw Chris Martin, who claimed man of the match with 6-26 in the second innings, draw level with Chris Cairns for third all-time on New Zealand's test wicket-taking charts with 218.

After New Zealand added 103 to their overnight score and declared on 495-7, Zimbabwe always faced long odds of forcing a result. But the manner in which they capitulated - twice - came as a surprise, as the tourists couldn't deal with the Black Caps' pace attack.

Zimbabwe were bowled out for 51 in their first innings, and were in danger of repeating the dose second time around after falling to 12-5 after 10 overs. But a half century from Regis Chakabva, who combined with Graeme Cremer to forge a 63-run partnership for the seventh wicket, at least gave some respectability to Zimbabwe's second innings.

It looked as if Zimbabwe had managed to force the match into a fourth day, but the return of Martin to the bowling crease saw the last three wickets fall for four runs and saw the visitors dismissed for 143.

Martin and Doug Bracewell were the chief destroyers with the ball for New Zealand, as both seamers took two wickets in Zimbabwe's first innings, before veteran's haul was complemented by three from the youngster in the second innings.

Earlier, the Black Caps declared at 495-7 once BJ Watling had brought up his maiden test century. After the declaration came with Watling unbeaten on 102, New Zealand immediately had Zimbabwe in trouble as Martin (2-5), Trent Boult (2-8) and Bracewell (1-7) picked up wickets with ease to have Zimbabwe reeling on 20-5 at lunch.

The wickets continued to tumble after the break, with Malcolm Waller (23) the only Zimbabwean batsman to reach double figures. New Zealand enforced the follow-on with Zimbabwe still trailing by 444 runs, and the tourists were quickly in trouble again.

Martin struck in each of his first three overs, as opening bat Hamilton Masakadza registered a rare one-day pair and captain Brendon Taylor managed a combined 11 runs. Chakabva frustrated the New Zealand attack for a time but Martin eventually wrapped up the tail.

- APNZ

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