The Caribbean boys finished day 2 of the second test in a commanding position of 78/1 after having bowled out the Chevrons for 326 at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
By SportBrief Reporter
The Chevrons started the day looking to build on their previous score of 169/4 and they appeared to do just that with Hamilton Masakadza, fresh off scoring a century looking quite comfortable at the crease.
He along with Sikandar Raza extended their fifth wicket stand to 90, with Masakadza going on to record 147 runs. The big man was eventually caught out as he rather naively looked to sweep a Devendra Bishoo delivery that found the top edge of the bat before the visitors’ wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich as Zimbabwe was now on 246/5.
From that point onwards it was downhill for the hosts as the Chevrons voodoo seemingly struck again, losing six wickets in the space of just 80 runs.
After Masakadza’s departure, Malcom Waller soon followed with a golden duck as he was bowled by Brathwaite. Regis Chakabva (10) didn’t last long either and bowled again this time by Bishoo to leave the hosts dangling precariously at 267/7.
Sikander Raza led the Chevrons’ mini-resistance as he posted a vigilant 80 runs before being caught in the slip when he edged off Shannon Gariel. Skipper Graeme Cremer was next to go as he was run out by Jason Holder, a disappointing way to go out in a test match given his position. Tendai Chisoro was the last man to go, trapped ibw by Kemar Roach, with the Chevrons bundled out for 326.
In reply, the West Indies batsmen were made to work hard by a well-polished Zimbabwean bowling attack, with the visitors struggling to score runs. The pair of Brathwaite and Powell took an agonising 16 overs to reach just 25 runs before their tea break.
Sikandar Raza was the pick of the bowlers, with his spin causing problems for the Windies and on numerous occasions looking to break the deadlock. Cremer too was impressive and rather guilty of dropping Powell on 12 when the batsman fired back his delivery straight at him but he just couldn’t latch on to the ball.
Credit to the visitors, through, who slowly weathered the storm posting 51 runs off the next 30 overs and looked like their partnership would live to fight the next day but Cremer had other ideas.
The legspinner served up a fine delivery that deceptively turned and hit the edge of Brathwaite’s bat onto Masakadza at slip for a simple catch. With light fading fast, West Indies eventually ended the day on 78/1 having been made to work hard for every run but will no doubt have a slight advantage over the hosts as they still have 9 wickets in hand.
On the other hand, for all the good work the Chevrons put in, they would perhaps feel they should have had more wickets to put the Windies under some form of pressure and will be looking for more penetration with their bowling on day three if they are to entertain hopes of winning the second test.