– Mpofu to return?
– How many tons will the Kiwis get?
– Proteas will be watching
Zimbabwe and New Zealand head into the second Test of the series having had an extra day to rest, thanks to the innings and 117-run demolition in the first Test, and the hosts will need all their reserves of energy here.
The Black Caps may have allowed the game to go into a fourth day in Bulawayo, with Sean Williams’ ton frustrating them, but it was still an easy victory and they will look to their pacemen once again.
Neil Wager was superb in the first innings, taking six wickets, and having had a bit more rest than anticipated, he’ll be ready to send down those short-pitched body bashers again. He was brutal in Bulawayo, and will be so again.
The hosts’ bowlers, on the other hand, were well below par, and allowed nearly 600 runs to be scored off them. As a result, the rumours are that veteran seamer Chris Mpofu could be recalled, having last played a Test in 2011.
The Kiwi batsmen will unlikely be bothered by this though, and the question is just how many tons they’ll score. They bagged three in the first Test, with another 90-odd score to boot.
This is a big part of why they’re overwhelming favourites, with an unlikely Zim win getting the punter R17.25 for every Rand bet. A win for New Zealand is almost not worth betting on, at 0.09c per ZAR, while a draw is at R7 per Rand.
While it seems churlish to say this, the Black Caps will probably look at this match as a warm-up for the series against South Africa later this month. The first Test will be played at Centurion from 19 August.
The Proteas bowlers will be keeping an eye on proceedings (assuming this game is televised, as the first one was not), looking to find a chink in Kane Williamson’s and Ross Taylor’s armours.