Gisborne: BJ Watling top-scored with 84 for a New Zealand XI on Saturday's opening day of the three-day match against Zimbawe, boosting his chances of being wicketkeeper in next week's one-off Test.
The New Zealand XI includes two South African-born wicketkeepers — Watling and the uncapped Kruger van Vyk — to give both a chance to advance their claims to the keeper's gloves for the Test at Napier starting Thursday.
Van Vyk did not capitalise on his opportunity opening the batting and was dismissed for just 5 during a top-order slump which also saw New Zealand captain Ross Taylor clean bowled for 7, and the hosts reduced to 59 for 4.
The wicketkeeper batsman's knock allowed New Zealand XI to declare at 272 for 7 in tour match against Zimbabwe.
Allrounder Daniel Vettori, batting at No. 5, steadied the innings with a 63-ball innings of 49, then Watling took over and batted 221 minutes for his 84.
He put on 125 with Sam Wells (65) for the sixth wicket, and the New Zealanders declared at 272 for 7 when he was run out.
Zimbabwe easily negotiated the last 14 overs before stumps, ending on 39-0. Tino Mawoyo was 23 and Hamilton Masakadza 15 not out.