Cricket: Cairns digs in to save day for New Zealand

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Zimbabwe 298 & 311-9 dec

New Zealand 207 & 304-8

Match drawn

Chris Cairns yesterday salvaged a draw for New Zealand against Zimbabwe on the final day of the first Test in Harare with an innings of monumental patience.

Cairns batted for four hours and 20 minutes to score an undefeated 71 and see his side to safety. The last hour of the match was tense as New Zealand, seven wickets down, needed Cairns to shepherd the tail.

Daniel Vettori survived 50 minutes before he fell to a bat and pad catch. That brought in the debutant Shayne O'Connor to negotiate the final 25 minutes against the leg spin of Paul Strang and Adam Huckle in fading light. New Zealand survived, though, to reach 304 for 8 at the close after resuming on 64 for 2.

Cairns came in six overs before lunch with New Zealand on 116 for 4, having been set an unlikely victory target of 403. The opener Blair Pocock went in the first over after the interval to reduce the visitors to a perilous 122 for 5. Partnerships of 78 with Adam Parore and 66 with Chris Harris took up two hours and 40 minutes to slow Zimbabwe's progress to what would have been only their second Test victory.

Final day; New Zealand won toss

ZIMBABWE - First Innings 298 (G W Flower 104.

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 207 (S P Fleming 52).

ZIMBABWE - Second Innings 311 (G W Flower 151).

NEW ZEALAND - Second Innings

(Overnight: 64 for 2)

B A Pocock lbw b Streak 52

*S P Fleming lbw b B Strang 27

N J Astle c G Flower b B Strang 0

C L Cairns not out 71

A C Parore lbw b Huckle 51

Chris Harris lbw b Streak 41

D L Vettori c Rennie b Huckle 13

S B O'Connor not out 1

Extras 15

Total (for 8) 304

Fall (cont): 3-116 4-116 5-122 6-200 7-266 8-296.

Bowling: Streak 21-3-52-2; B Strang 26-10-56-2; Whittal 5-1-19-0; P Strang 42-17-76-1; Huckle 31-9-84-3; Rennie 3-1-5-0.