Northerns – 256 and 251-5 in 61 overs (Wessly Madhevere 85*, Clive Madande 74*, Sikandar Raza 36; Prince Masvaure 2/36, Wellington Masakadza 2/84, William Mashinge 1/33)
Southerns – 102 all out in 35.5 overs (Brian Chari 33, Richard Ngarava 19, Wellington Masakadza 16; Tanaka Chivanga 4/35, Steve Chimhamhiwa 3/32, Victor Nyauchi 2/23)
Day 2 – Stumps: Northerns lead by 405 runs
An unbroken century partnership between Wessly Madhevere and Clive Madande took Northerns into a virtually unassailable position on Sunday in their regional match against Southerns at Harare Sports Club, after the latter had collapsed disastrously in the morning.
Southerns began the day at 33 for four wickets in reply to the Northerns first-innings score of 256, with Brian Chari on 14 and Wellington Masakadza on six.
The pair began well, but failed to finish the recovery job.
They managed to double the overnight score before they were parted, as Masakadza was caught at the wicket off Steve Chimhamhiwa for a very watchful innings of 16, scored off 53 balls.
Chari soon followed for 33, also caught off Chimhamhiwa, making the score 73 for six wickets.
This triggered another collapse, as four wickets fell for nine runs, so that nine wickets were actually down for only 82.
Fortunately for the team, Richard Ngarava at number 10 went for some bold hitting, striking four fours and making 19 before he was finally caught off Tanaka Chivanga.
The final total was 102, with the pace bowlers doing the most damage, apart from that which the batters inflicted on themselves.
Chivanga, who made inroads into the top order before stumps on day one, took four wickets for 35, while Chimhamhiwa, who destroyed the middle order this morning, had three for 32.
The third paceman, Victor Nyauchi, took two wickets for 23, and the spinners were scarcely needed, although Tendai Chisoro picked up a wicket in his three overs.
After their own poor batting, with the exception of Sikandar Raza, Northerns were no doubt delighted to bat a second time with a lead of 154 runs.
This did not prevent them from making another bad start, as Takudzwanashe Kaitano (6) was caught by Craig Ervine off William Mashinge for six, while Tanu Makoni was bowled by Masakadza for seven – both opening batters gone with 20 runs on the board.
Tadiwanashe Marumani did rather better at first, scoring 23 before he was bowled by Masakadza for 23; 49 for three wickets.
Raza showed what he thought of his team-mates’ efforts by stepping down the pitch to drive the second delivery he faced, from Masakadza, over long-on for six.
He played some risky strokes, but he raced to 36 off 40 balls, hitting three sixes and a four, before he was caught from another big hit to leg off Prince Masvaure.
The unfortunate Innocent Kaia again fell first ball, trapped lbw by Masvaure’s next delivery.
Meanwhile, Madhevere was playing a calm innings at the other end and he soon reached what was only the second fifty of the match off 90 balls.
His new partner was Madande, who played a positive, attractive game as Northerns took an ever stronger grip on this match.
Madande dominated the partnership with Madhevere, and raced to his fifty off 58 balls.
The pair stayed together, and by the close had more than doubled the score, adding 128 runs together to make the total 251 for five wickets: Madhevere finished with 85 and Madande with 74, and Northerns lead by 405 runs.
With three full days to go, a declaration is hardly likely, and they have the chance to fill their boots to their hearts’ content on Monday.