BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 28th july, 2016) - Left-arm seamer Neil Wagner used his raw pace and aggression to rip out five Zimbabwean wickets as New Zealand took little time to impose themselves on the first Test at Queens sports Club on Thursday. On a surface offering little to the bowlers, Wagner bent his back and used the short ball to good effect as he took five for 31 in 16 overs. As a result Zimbabwe went to tea on 120 for eight after they had won the toss and elected to bat first, with tailender Donald Tiripano's unbeaten 28 the highest score.
Zimbabwe had not played a Test since November 2014, and the hiatus showed in their inability to occupy the crease on a pitch that held no demons. Opener Brian Chari fell to the second ball of the day, and after Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza offered some stability with an hour-long stand, Wagner got stuck into the hosts. In a 13-over spell either side of the lunch break, the 30-year-old removed Chibhabha and Sean Williams before the interval and then struck three times in one over to reduce the hosts to 72 for eight.
All but one of his dismissals came from short deliveries, as Zimbabwe's batsmen had no answer to the tactic. Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner backed him up with the important wickets of Masakadza and Craig Ervine, registering figures of two for 12 from seven overs. Tiripano and debutant batsman Prince Masvaure battled through to the tea break, with the latter ending the session on 20 not out.