| Raymond Price (left) and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Ricky Ponting in Sydney on Sunday. (Reuters)
Sydney: Ray Price captured six wickets to lead an unexpected Zimbabwe fightback in the second Test on Sunday before a late batting collapse handed the initiative back to Australia.
Price ripped through the Australian lower-order to finish with career-best figures of six for 121 and restrict Australia to a modest first innings total of 403.
That left Australia with a first innings lead of 95, but Zimbabwe quickly wiped out the deficit before bad played stopped play early at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
However, they spoiled their brave comeback by losing three late wickets to end the day on 151 for four, a lead of just 56 with two full days to go.
Australia quickly set about building a lead before Price, a left-arm spinner, suddenly applied the brakes by dismissing captain Steve Waugh for 61 and then his deputy Ricky Ponting for 169.He had Waugh caught at short-leg shortly after the skipper had posted his 48th Test half century and then removed top-scorer Ponting with a ball that deceived him and rolled off his bat and through his legs on to the stumps.
Heath Streak bowled dangerman Adam Gilchrist for 20 and Price returned to mop up the tail after lunch, claiming the scalps of Simon Katich (52), Brad Hogg (13) and Brad Williams (7) to finish with five wickets for the day.
Zimbabwe, who lost last week’s first Test in Perth by an innings and 175 runs, made a terrible start to their reply when opener Dion Ebrahim fell to Williams on the fourth ball of the innings.
But Mark Vermeulen and Trevor Gripped steadied the innings with a second-wicket partnership of 93 before the wheels fell off again.