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Williams helps delay New Zealand victory over Zimbabwe

BULAWAYO (Reuters) - Sean Williams overcame illness to plunder a maiden test half-century as Zimbabwe showed some belated fight to delay New Zealand's victory charge on the fourth morning of the first test at the Queens Sports Club on Sunday.

Williams scored an unbeaten 73 from just 83 balls as he guided Zimbabwe to 221 for six in their second innings at lunch, still 191 runs short of making New Zealand bat again.

The 29-year-old, playing his third test, has put on an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 97 with captain Graeme Cremer (32 not out) to frustrate the dominant New Zealanders.

Williams did not field on Saturday after both he and wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva were laid low by a virus.

Resuming on 121-5, the home side lost Craig Ervine (50) in the second over of the day after he too had brought up a maiden test half-century in his eighth match.

Ervine was adjudged caught behind by wicketkeeper BJ Watling off the bowling of seamer Trent Boult (4-47), though replays appeared to indicate that the ball missed the edge of the bat.

Despite Ervine's dismissal, Zimbabwe were fairly untroubled on a flat wicket that showed their first innings score of 164 to be well below par, much to the disappointment of coach Makhaya Ntini.

Williams, in particular, took advantage of the benign conditions to smash 15 fours in a fluent innings that showcased his full range of shots.

New Zealand amassed 576-6 declared in their first innings, with Ross Taylor (173 not out), Watling (107) and Tom Latham (105) all reaching three figures.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien)

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