Taylor and Watling score centuries as NZ dominates

Zimbabwe started its second innings trailing by 412 and its day went from bad to worse when Boult (3-33) took three early wickets to reduce them to 17-4 before Craig Ervine (49 not out) led a slight recovery to 121-5 at stumps - trailing by 291.

Ross Taylor scored his 14th Test century.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Ross Taylor and B. J. Watling scored centuries and Trent Boult ripped through a sorry Zimbabwe line-up to put New Zealand on the verge of a crushing victory in the first Test.

Former Black Caps captain Taylor made a classy unbeaten 173 not out - his 14th Test century- and put on 253 for the sixth wicket with Watling (107) before Kane Williamson declared at 576-6 on day three in in Bulawayo.

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Zimbabwe started its second innings trailing by 412 and its day went from bad to worse when Boult (3-33) took three early wickets to reduce them to 17-4 before Craig Ervine (49 not out) led a slight recovery to 121-5 at stumps - trailing by 291.

New Zealand resumed on 315-4 and were soon five down when nightwatchman Ish Sodhi (11) wafted at a delivery outside off stump to become debutant Michael Chinouya's (1-79) first Test victim.

Zimbabwe, without Regis Chakabva and Sean Williams due to illness, was unable to make further inroads as Taylor and Watling combined for a huge stand.

Taylor brought up his half-century with a single into the covers and looked untroubled as he cut well, while also rotating the strike with ease along with wicketkeeper-batsman Watling.

Watling punished anything short and passed 50 with a boundary to backward square leg before Taylor reached three figures in style by square-cutting Chamu Chibhabha (1-44) to the boundary.

Neither batsmen offered chances as the Zimbabwe bowlers toiled, with Watling bringing up his sixth Test century before falling soon after to prompt the declaration, leaving Taylor not out after a 299-ball knock which included 19 boundaries.

Tim Southee (1-35) got rid of Hamilton Masakadza (4) in the first over and Boult then came to the fore, taking three wickets in six deliveries to leave Zimbabwe in dire straits.

Neil Wagner (1-18) ended a stand of 69 when he dismissed Sikandar Raza (37) and although Ervine stood firm, Zimbabwe is facing a crushing loss in the first game of the two-match series.