New Zealand A ended day one of their second unofficial cricket Test with Zimbabwe A on Thursday, firmly in control at 329 for four in their first innings at the Country Club.
The visitors’ skipper James Franklin was unbeaten on 44 runs off 117 balls while Reece Young was on 33 off 61 balls.
Their unbeaten partnership of 64 runs was the second highest in their innings.
A 161-run first wicket partnership between Jamie How (115) and Tim MacIntosh (58) frustrated the hosts in the scorching heat until it was broken in the 37th over, three overs after lunch.
The Zimbabwe A bowlers who struggled on a wicket that had initially been tipped to favour the fast bowlers but turned out to be belter, came back strongly towards the end.
Skipper Vusumuzi Sibanda still believes his side could come back into the game after a late fight-back yielded four precious wickets.
Were it not for a couple of dropped catches, with Malcolm Waller and Charles Coventry the chief culprits the hosts could have been in a better position.
“They really got off to a flier and at one time it looked like we stood no chance of coming back, but the guys came back very strongly in the end.“
On his targets for day two Sibanda said: “Obviously we would like to take it one session at a time but we will be aiming to bowl them out by the second session and hopefully bat throughout the day without losing a wicket.”
Seamer Njabulo Ncube was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets for 42 runs while Taurai Muzarabani and Waller took a wicket apiece.
Although the spinners struggled to find any breakthrough their contributions today will be very crucial as the wicket gets older.
However, the visitors simply worked for their runs after winning the toss and electing to bat first with How’s century coming off 138 balls which included 15 fours and three huge sixes.
Muzarabani who got the first breakthrough a couple of overs after lunch induced an outside edge off MacIntosh who was caught behind by Regis Chakabva.
Three overs later the dangerous Mark Flynn would follow him back to the pavilion after he drove Ncube straight at substitute fielder Friday Kasteni at mid-on for just 16 runs which came off just 15 deliveries.