Zimbabwe 175 (Shillingford 5-59) v
West Indies 114-2 (Gayle 61no)
Second Test, Dominica, day one
Report by Daniel Grummitt
Zimbabwe’s familiar weakness against spin bowling returned to haunt them on day one of the second Test in Dominica. Hometown boy Shane Shillingford was again their chief tormentor, taking five for 59, while Marlon Samuels again chipped in as they were dismissed for a pathetic 175.
Chris Gayle and the West Indies then recovered from a shaky start in their reply to close impressively and ominously on 114 for two - Zimbabwe’s spinner’s failing to pose anything like the threat that Shillingford had earlier.
Zimbabwe’s opening pair of Tino Mawoyo and, in particular, Vusi Sibanda had got their side off to a rollicking start after they had been asked to bat by Darren Sammy following a half hour delay due to a wet outfield. Sibanda made the most of some wayward opening bowling from Tino Best and Kemar Roach.
However, when Shannon Gabriel was introduced into the attack things changed with almost immediate effect. He found the swing that had been largely lacking in Best and Roach’s spells. Mawoyo shouldered arms and was clean bowled, while Sibanda wasted another start, whacking a full toss to Roach at mid-on when on 32.
It was then over to Shillingford and Samuels. Shillingford struck first, beating the outside edge of Hamilton Masakadza’s bat with a doosra which went on to hit off-stump. Brendan Taylor - who would also have to keep wicket in this Test owing to Regis Chakabva’s absence through injury - and Craig Ervine then survived until lunch, which Zimbabwe reached on 92 for three.
Taylor played the sweep and reverse sweep with good effect against Shillingford, but it was always likely to prove his downfall on a pitch that was offering both spin and bounce. He went for a reverse sweep once too often and the ball bobbled onto his stumps via chin and glove. Ervine’s stoic resistance came to an end when he missed a straight ball from Samuels and was adjudged leg-before.
At that point, the tourists were 141 for five, but things were about to get even worse as the lower-order imploded. Malcolm Waller played a mindless slog sweep which found Tino Best at deep mid-wicket, while the tail folded, unable to cope with the spin that was offer. Cremer was caught at short-leg for a duck; Prosper Utseya trapped leg-before for nine; and Tendai Chatara hopelessly bamboozled having made just four. Only Sean Williams - who was on Test debut despite having made his ODI debut way back in 2005 - showed any fight, but he too fell victim to the sweep, top-edging into his grill and being caught on the rebound at short-leg. Zimbabwe were all out for just 175 with many of their batsmen again at least partly responsible for their own demise.
Kieran Powell began the West Indies reply strongly. He hit five boundaries off his first 21 balls as Kyle Jarvis, in particular, struggled to find the right line. However, he did soon do so and was rewarded with Powell’s wicket via a superb inswinging yorker which found its way onto the stumps via a combination of bat and pad. In his very next over, he temped new batsman Darren Bravo into a drive as the Trinidadian registered his first duck in Test cricket.
Jarvis possesses an almost perfect action to bowl away swing and found a fine groove for half an hour this evening. He does occasionally struggle for accuracy and was clueless during the limited-overs series when the white ball refused to swing, but here, and in Barbados, he has looked comfortably Zimbabwe’s best bowler. However, his spell soon came to an end, as did the increasingly impressive Tendai Chatara’s, and it was over to the spinners.
Prosper Utseya was preferred to the accurate Ray Price as Graeme Cremer’s partner here in what was a puzzling selection decision. Both he and Cremer struggled.
Chris Gayle had looked hopelessly out of form early in his innings and was repeatedly squared up by Chatara as well as mistiming several of his trademark drives. If anything it appeared as though his weight going across his stumps rather than down the pitch. However, with a little patience, that was soon rectified. He found his touch against Hamilton Masakadza with a couple of booming off-drives and by the time Utseya was introduced was more than ready. After sizing him up for a couple of deliveries, he planted his foot down the pitch and the ball several rows back in the stand.
Samuels did the same to Cremer early on and looked fluent from the start. The pair had added 79 in less than 19 overs by stumps, with Cremer and Utseya getting though nine overs at a cost of 45 runs. The main difference between them and Shillingford was the slower pace that they bowled. Any spin that was found was only slow and so was easily countered. Whatever the reason for their lack of success this evening they need to improve quickly. Zimbabwe need early wickets tomorrow because otherwise it could be a long day in the field. Gayle, in particular, looks in the mood for a big score.
© Cricket World 2013
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