Sammy, Ramdin put Windies in command
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Captain Darren Sammy’s whirlwind half-century spared West Indies blushes before off-spinner Shane Shillingford struck twice late in the day to give the hosts a stranglehold on the second Test against Zimbabwe here Wednesday.
Tottering on the brink of collapse at 151 for six just after lunch, West Indies rallied to 307 all out, courtesy of a stroke-filled top score of 73 from Sammy.
He slammed eight fours and four sixes off a mere 69 balls in an exhilarating innings.
He shared a crucial 106-run stand for the seventh wicket with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin who weighed in with an important 62 on his 28th birthday.
Seamer Kyle Jarvis, who bowled impressively all innings, finished with career-best figures of five for 54 while medium pacer Hamilton Masakadza (2-25) and young fast bowler Tendai Chatara (2-66) picked up two wickets apiece.
Left with just over an hour to negotiate, Zimbabwe fell apart quickly as Shillingford, extracting turn and bounce from the Kensington Oval pitch, claimed two for nine to leave the tourists reeling on 41 for three.
Heading into Thursday’s third day still requiring 54 more runs to make West Indies bat again, Zimbabwe already face a tall order to save the game.
Resuming the second day on 18 for two, West Indies lost three wickets in the first session despite adding 126 runs, to give Zimbabwe a share of the spoils.
Elegant stroke-maker Marlon Samuels hammered 51 and opener Chris Gayle hit 40, but both fell after seemingly set, to leave West Indies in a bind.
The left-handed Gayle stroked 40 from 76 balls in 112 minutes with eight fours while Bravo, who never really settled, soaked up 32 balls and counted two fours, as they extended their third wicket stand to 35 before being separated.
Bravo reeled off exquisite cover drives off Chatara and Jarvis but then needlessly sparred at one on a length and was taken behind with the score on 43.
Gayle and Samuels then added 38 for the fourth wicket in quick time off just 46 balls, with both batsmen unafraid to play their natural attacking game.
Samuels, in his first international game of the year since recovering from a serious eye injury, faced 74 balls in 85 minutes at the crease and hit nine fours and a six – a pull over mid-wicket off leg-spinner Graeme Cremer.
Gayle, meanwhile, smashed Chatara for two boundaries in the right-armer’s ninth over – the first a firm cut and the second, a fierce drive through mid-off.
Chatara gained revenge immediately after the drinks break, however, when he got one to jump from off a length for Gayle to glove a simple catch to captain Brendan Taylor at second slip.
Samuels and Shiv Chanderpaul then put the Zimbabwe bowling to the sword in an entertaining stand before Samuels’s ambition cost him with two balls left before lunch, when he nicked a drive at Masakadza behind.
Perched on 144 for five at lunch, West Indies suffered a huge blow four overs after the break when Chanderpaul added just one to his unbeaten 25 before edging a pull at Jarvis to the wicketkeeper.
Arriving at the crease with West Indies in decline, Sammy set about Zimbabwe’s bowling with relish. He cracked two consecutive sixes off the hapless Cremer – the first sailing over mid-wicket and the second a massive hit over long off.
The third, also off Cremer, was swatted over long on and he reached his fifth half-century in Tests two balls later off a mere 38 balls with a clip for two to deep mid-wicket.
Sammy then tore into Cremer in the bowler’s 16th over which cost 14, hammering a six two more fours as West Indies up the ante.
Dropped on 72 by Ray Price at deep point off Masakadza, Sammy added just one more run before playing on in the right-armer’s next over, at 257 for seven.
Though the last four wickets fell for 50 runs, there was enough time for Ramdin to complete his 12th half-century in Tests, facing 130 balls in 160 minutes, striking eight fours.
The new-ball pair of Kemar Roach and Tino Best had no impact but speedster Shannon Gabriel struck with the first ball of his spell when Tino Mawoyo (9) chased a wide delivery, and gave Sammy an easy catch at second slip with the score on 25 for one.
Shillingford provided the finishing touches, knocking over Masakadza for one to a catch close-in and Vusi Sibanda for 15, caught and bowled off a leading edge.
ZIMBABWE 211 (Tino Mawoyo 50, Craig Ervine 29, Brendan Taylor 26; Marlon Samuels 4-13, Shane Shillingford 3-58, Kemar Roach 2-31) and 41 for three (Shane Shillingford 2-9)
WEST INDIES 307 (Darren Sammy 73, Denesh Ramdin 62, Marlon Samuels 51, Chris Gayle 40, Shiv Chanderpaul 26, Tino Best 24; Kyle Jarvis 5-54, Hamilton Masakadza 2-25, Tendai Chatara 2-66)
ZIMBABWE 1st Innings 211
West Indies 1st innings
(overnight 18 for two)
C Gayle c Taylor b Chatara 40
K Powell lbw b Jarvis 5
K Roach lbw b Jarvis 0
D Bravo c wkp Chakabva b Jarvis 11
M Samuels c wkp Chakabva b Masakadza 51
S Chanderpaul c wkp Chakabva b Jarvis 26
+D Ramdin c Sibanda b Chatara 62
*D Sammy b Masakadza 73
S Shillingford c Jarvis b Price 1
T Best c Cremer b Jarvis 24
S Gabriel not out 0
Extras (b9, lb3, w1, nb1) 14
TOTAL (all out; 84.2 overs) 307
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-8, 3-43, 4-81, 5-144, 6-151, 7-257, 8-268, 9-301, 10-307.
Bowling: Jarvis 17.2-4-54-5 (w1, nb1), Chatara 19-6-66-2, Cremer 20-0-103-0, Masakadza 10-2-25-2, Price 18-2-47-1.
ZIMBABWE 2nd innings
T Mawoyo c Sammy b Gabriel 9
V Sibanda c & b Shillingford15
H Masakadza c Sammy b Shillingford 1
R Price not out 7
*B Taylor not out 0
Extras (b 8, lb 1) 9
TOTAL (3 wkts; 14 overs) 41
To bat: C Ervine, M Waller, +R Chakabva, K Jarvis, A Cremer, T Chatara
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-26, 3-39.
Bowling: Roach 5-3-10-0, Best 3-2-6-0, Gabriel 4-1-7-0, Shillingford 2-0-9-2.
Position: Zimbabwe trail by 55 runs.
Umpires: R Martinesz, B Oxenford; TV – A Hill.