A seventh-wicket partnership of 106 between Darren Sammy and Denesh Ramdin and three late wickets in Zimbabwe’s second innings tilted the match firmly in the home side’s favour on day two at the Kensington Oval.
Zimbabwe had fought hard after being dismissed for 211 on day one and reduced the West Indies to 151 for six shortly after lunch as Kyle Jarvis continued to find the swing that he had yesterday evening. However, Ramdin and Sammy, in particular, counter-attacked and took the game away from them, while Shannon Gabriel and Shane Shillingford rammed home the advantage of the hosts' 96-run first innings lead.
Kemar Roach and Tino Best had begun poorly with the ball in the tourists’ second innings and seemed pre-occupied with the short ball that had caused Zimbabwe’s openers so much discomfort in the first innings. This time, Tino Mawoyo and Vusi Sibanda barely looked troubled. When Roach did pitch up to Sibanda, searching for a repeat of his first innings dismissal, he played much straighter and fought the urge to play across the line successfully.
It was Shannon Gabriel who made the breakthrough with his first ball. Apparently learning the lesson that the more senior members of the attack had failed to, he pitched his first ball up to Mawoyo, who drove and edged straight to a grateful Sammy at second slip. Shane Shillingford then also struck with his first ball - Hamilton Masakadza playing straight in to Sammy’s hands at leg gully - and then also removed Sibanda, playing for spin only to be caught off a leading edge. And so Zimbabwe closed on 41 for three, squandering the promising position that Jarvis and Masakadza had put them in in the morning session.
West Indies’ middle-order had had a similar problem to Zimbabwe’s yesterday, in that they mostly got starts but failed to capitalise. Darren Bravo flirted and edged a delivery from Jarvis into the gloves of Regis Chakabva, at which point Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels decided to launch an all-out attack.
For a while the ploy worked, but Tendai Chatara got a ball to lift alarmingly at Gayle first ball after morning drinks and he gloved to Brendan Taylor at second slip. Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul continued to play fluently for the next hour, with Samuels particularly aggressive against the leg-spin of Graeme Cremer, who endured a chastening day. He, though, fell shortly after reaching a virtually chanceless fifty and against the run of play.
Zimbabwe had been forced to introduce the medium-pace offerings of Masakadza in an effort to stem the flow of runs and it was he who provided the breakthrough. After frustrating Samuels with a fifth-stump line, the Jamaican’s patience ran out and he drove at one, edging through to Chakabva. Just four overs later Jarvis picked up the big wicket of Chanderpaul, on the stroke of lunch, under-edging an attempted pull.
At this point, the West Indies were 151 for six and the tourists had comfortably had the better of the first session. Unfortunately, Sammy and Ramdin ensured that the second would belong decisively to the home side.
Sammy was easily the more aggressive of the two and again latched onto Cremer. The leg-spinner bowled either too short or too full and Sammy was quick to latch onto the pull or loft him over mid-on. In all he hit four towering sixes, none of them from slogs, before dragging on off Masakadza just minutes before tea.
After the resumption, Shillingford fell to the disciplined Ray Price, with Jarvis wrapping up the innings by having Tino Best caught at point for a sprightly 24. Jarvis ended with career-best figures of five for 54 and had found consistent away swing at a decent pace throughout. Chatara had been largely innocuous but relatively disciplined and finished with two for 66, while Price was his economical self, getting through 18 overs at a cost of 47 runs, and had comfortably out-bowled Cremer.
Zimbabwe’s hopes of taking this Test into the fourth day - or even deep into the third - now rest largely with captain Brendan Taylor, who will need to improve on his tour average of 14.75 considerably if they are to turn their moments of promise in this match into something more tangible.
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.