shillingford, gayle ensure opening day’s honours go to hosts
ROSEAU – As if keeping to a well planned script, off-spinner Shane Shillingford took five wickets with the West Indies finishing the first day of the second and final Test against Zimbabwe on top at Windsor Park today.†The lanky Dominican finished with 5 for 59 as Zimbabwe were whittled out for a paltry 175 at Shillingford’s Roseau, Dominica, home ground.
Then opener Chris Gayle hit an unbeaten 61 as West Indies, who won the first Test, finished on 114 for 2 to trail Zimbabwe by 61 runs.
As in Barbados, none of the batsmen fell to unplayable deliveries, although there were several of them jumping and kicking around, rather surprising for a day one surface, especially outside the subcontinent. Instead, it was plain impatience and inability, a dangerous combination, that led to Zimbabwe falling apart.
Admittedly, there was generous help for the slow bowlers. The first delivery Shillingford bowled spun in sharply from outside off to hit Brendan Taylor on the flap of the pad outside leg, as early as the 19th over.
When so much is happening for the bowler, you don’t go about reverse-sweeping him, especially when your concentration might not be at its keenest soon after the lunch break. Which is what Taylor attempted against Shillingford and missed, the ball bouncing into his chin and rolling on to the stumps after brushing his forearm.
Malcolm Waller did worse than his captain, having a slog at Shillingford in the penultimate over before tea to hole out to deep midwicket.
Sean Williams battled in his debut Test, defending resolutely, playing late, keeping them down with soft hands and shaking his head in helplessness when beaten by the regular rippers. Craig Ervine fought as well, but both batsmen ended up falling to the off-spin of Marlon Samuels, who, with seven wickets in two innings this series, might take offence to being labelled a part-timer.
There was absolutely no resistance from the tail, and when Tendai Chatara shouldered arms and crouched in the path of a Shillingford delivery on middle stump, the offspinner had successive five-fors, after his 6 for 51 in the second innings in Barbados.
Zimbabwe lost their last six wickets for 34 after going into lunch at 92 for 3. They had raced away to 42 without loss following Darren Sammy’s decision to bowl on what had appeared then to be a flat pitch. The way Vusi Sibanda began, even the West Indies attack appeared flat.
The beginning couldn’t have been any more different from how the rest of the innings panned out. Early morning rain had forced a 30-minute delayed start and, armed with three specialist quick bowlers, Sammy had hoped to use the moisture in the surface. He must have been horrified at what followed. Kemar Roach and Tino Best were either too short or too full, and Sibanda tore into them with six fours.
There was no swing or seam in that initial period and the openers defended effort deliveries without any bother. There would have been a few already starting to doubt if West Indies had made the correct decision.
All that changed as soon as Shannon Gabriel came on in the ninth over and immediately settled on a good length.
There was swing to be had, as Best had shown in the previous over when he finally found that length. Gabriel beat Tino Mawoyo a couple of times with away-going deliveries. The last ball of the over nipped in from a good length, Mawoyo shouldered arms, and lost his off stump.
In Gabriel’s next over, Zimbabwe went from misjudgment to downright casual. Sibanda drove a full toss straight to a tumbling Roach at wide mid-on. Yet another promising Sibanda innings had been cut short in the thirties. Gabriel’s figures read 4-4-0-2.
Shillingford needed six deliveries to strike. The second ball Masakadza faced from Shillingford, he charged out and had a blind heave, only to escape as the skier shot over slip. The sixth one was a flighted doosra, which Masakadza tried to turn to leg like a normal off-break, and almost fell on his face as he was bowled. The working over was a harbinger of the impending collapse.
Kieran Powell did a Sibanda when West Indies came out to bat, playing an aggressive cameo before falling to an inswinging Kyle Jarvis delivery again. In his next over, Jarvis handed Darren Bravo his first duck in Tests when he had the batsman flailing a wide delivery through to the keeper.Gayle and Samuels dug in at 35 for 2. Gayle had little fluency for a long time as he jabbed half-forward to keep out length deliveries from the quicks. Nevertheless, he kept lashing the odd boundary down the ground or through the covers, and towards the end, started to look a lot more comfortable.
The Zimbabwe spinners made little impression, although Prosper Utseya got only three overs. Samuels had gone after Graeme Cremer in Barbados and here he stepped out to loft the legspinner for a straight six in his opening over. Both Cremer and Utseya did send down a few testing deliveries, but were too inconsistent to pose a threat.