Black Caps bubbling in Bulawayo
Guptill records century and Taylor nears his on opening day
Last Updated: 01/11/11 4:05pm
Martin Guptill: Second Test hundred
Opening batsman Martin Guptill struck his second Test century as New Zealand ended day one of the first Test well set on 275-3 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
Guptill, who struck 11 boundaries and two sixes in his 236-ball 109, shared a century partnership with captain Ross Taylor to put the Black Caps in a strong position heading into the second day.
Taylor remains unbeaten on 76, however Guptill parted company with his skipper late in the day when he struck a long-hop from part-time bowler Hamilton Masakadza straight to midwicket.
BJ Watling survived a late scare to reach the close unbeaten on 16.
There was an element of good fortune for Zimbabwe in all three wickets that fell on a day dominated by the batsmen.
Brendon McCullum will have been kicking himself for a rash shot early on, while a bizarre run-out accounted for Kane Williamson one run shy of his half-century.
There may have been an element of fatigue in the departure of Guptill, who should have done better with a delivery from Masakadza that sat up nicely, only for him to hit it straight to Tatenda Taibu at midwicket.
The tourists were hit with an injury to Jesse Ryder in the build-up to the match and, having won the toss and chosen to bat, got off to a cautious start as Kyle Jarvis (1-53) delivered a maiden over.
But New Zealand soon loosened up, and Guptill hit three fours in the space of four Jarvis deliveries in the fifth over to speed things up.
They had moved the score on to 40 when Jarvis made the breakthrough as McCullum played on, sending a bottom edge back on to his stumps to go for 14.
Guptill was unabashed by his fellow opener's departure, though, and hit one towering six before offering a rare chance to Zimbabwe in the penultimate over before lunch.
He hit a delivery from Ray Price (0-75) low and hard back towards the bowler, who got his hands up but could not hang on.
Kane Williamson had reached the interval on 37, but added only 12 more before gifting his wicket to the hosts.
He came out of his crease to defend a delivery from Price, prodding the ball back, but quick thinking from the bowler saw him snatch the ball and throw at the stumps before the slow-reacting Williamson could make his ground.
But such a strange dismissal was hardly a sign of things to come for Zimbabwe.
There were a couple of hopeful lbw appeals by Njabulo Ncube, while Guptill offered one difficult chance to Price in the field when he misjudged a Masakadza delivery, but overall New Zealand looked to be in complete control as they reached tea on 179-2.
Guptill appeared in a hurry to reach three figures after the break and raced through the 90s with a towering six off Price before passing three figures moments later with another boundary.
He had just struck his 11th four off Masakadza went he was caught to bring Watling to the crease.
He sent the first ball he faced for four but had a nervous moments in the penultimate over, fortunate that the ball crossed the ropes when it should have been caught.