West Indies v Zimbabwe, 1st Test, Barbados March 11, 2013

West Indies seek to extend rare winning run

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Match facts

March 12-16, Bridgetown
Start time 1000 (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

The last time West Indies won five Tests in a row was back in the late 80s, when they were still the reigning kings of world cricket. Viv Richards was the captain, leading a side strewn with legends to comprehensive series victories in England and Australia. West Indies have fallen so far from those peaks that in the seven years Prior to the start of their home season last year, they had been victorious in only five Tests.

Through a quirk of scheduling that pitted them against some relatively lightweight opposition, West Indies are currently on a four-Test winning streak, with two matches against the Test irregulars Zimbabwe coming up.

The Kensington Oval was a fortress for West Indies for much of the 20th century but, although the record has dimmed in recent years, Darren Sammy's experienced side will be confident of extending their successful stretch to six games.

While the home side chase some impressive numbers, for Zimbabwe the chance to play Test cricket is a rarity. They haven't played a five-day game since they were trounced in Napier by an innings-and-301-runs by New Zealand more than a year ago. This will only be their fifth Test since ending their six-year exile from the longest version of the game in 2011.

Besides the crippling shortage of experience, they will be up against unfamiliar conditions as well, in what will be their first Test in the Caribbean since 2000. Additionally, they are without the assuring presence of two Zimbabwe stalwarts from the coaching set-up, Grant Flower and Heath Streak, and there is further uncertainty on the horizon as this head coach Alan Butcher's last series in charge before his contract expires.

Form guide

West Indies: WWWWD (Completed matches, most recent first)
Zimbabwe: LLLW

Players to watch

In his second coming, Marlon Samuels has quickly became West Indies' most influential batsman across formats. He was missing in the limited-overs leg of the series as he completed his recovery from the eye injury he suffered in the Big Bash. His first match since early January was the tour game against the Zimbabweans last week and he hit his stride with a brisk 55. He's in a rich vein of form in Tests, having scored six half-centuries and three hundreds in his past nine matches.

Brendan Taylor is among Zimbabwe's most important batsmen, but he hasn't quite managed to find his form in this series so far. A string of single-digit scores in the limited-overs matches meant he hasn't been able to carry the touch that made him one of the standout players in the Bangladesh Premier League last month.

Team news

The West Indies batting is slowly beginning to acquire a settled look, with three senior batsmen in the top five and two promising youngsters in Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo as the other two specialists. One of their decisions to be made will be whether to play two specialist spinners, or to go in with one slow bowler and the part-time offerings of Narsingh Deonarine as back-up.

West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 7 Darren Sammy (capt), 8 Veerasammy Permaul, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Shane Shillingford, 11 Tino Best

Zimbabwe (squad) 1 Brendan Taylor (capt), 2 Tino Mawoyo, 3 Vusi Sibanda, 4 Hamilton Masakadza, 5 Regis Chakabva, 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Kyle Jarvis, 8 Keegan Meth, 9 Tendai Chatara, 10 Chris Mpofu, 11 Prosper Utseya, 12 Sean Williams, 13 Timycen Maruma, 14 Raymond Price, 15 Graeme Cremer

Stats and trivia

  • West Indies didn't lose a single Test at the Kensington Oval between 1935 and 1994.
  • There have only been six Tests so far between the two sides, with West Indies winning four and the other two being drawn.
  • Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Heath Streak are the only three players to have played in all six Tests between the two sides.
  • With 23 wickets, Ray Price is the most successful bowler in Tests between West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Quotes

"Having Marlon back is great news for us. The injury was unfortunate but he has been a big player for us in the last 12 months or so."
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson on Samuels' return

"Hoping we'll bat better than we did in the one-day series, we need to get more runs to stay competitive."
Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • adkum on March 11, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    As a WI cricket fan I would like to see my team victorious and bring back the pride and glory that the Lloyd and Richards' teams brought. However with the insularity displayed by the WI board I am not very optimistic. Can someone explain how is it that Sammy finds a place in the team. His statistics show his batting average in both test and ODI's at around 21. His 76 wickets in 31 tests have been taken at an excess of 34 runs average while his 69 wickets in 92 ODI's came at 42. No captain in the history of the game boasts such "stellar" stats. In today's competitive world one just have to look at what Dhoni, Smith, Clarke, Cook, Matthews, and now Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim and Zimbabwe's Taylor are doing to hold their places. Australia just sacked 4 players for not making their presentations to the team management. One wonders what presentation will Sammy make if he is ever called to do one.

  • mar2000 on March 13, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    Cricket at the "MECCA" in Barbados where one expect a hard and bouncy track that will be good for fast bowling and stroke play . Instead , on the first day the wicket keeper collecting balls down by his ankles .It is high time that we get a set of Groundsmen that can do things of old that will give a good contest . WI play 3 quicks and have no help on the first day from the pitch .

  • creekeetman on March 12, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    both sammy and best are not, never were, and never will be test cricketers... plain and simple.

  • on March 12, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    @adkum

    Do agree with you that Sammi doesn't deserve to be in the team on the basis of performance shown by him in the International cricket. But you should consider the achievement done by WI teams under his captaincy. 2 years back, WI teams was in worse situation and was performing worsen then the Bangladesh or for instance New Zealanders. Team leading itself is a skill, I am sure once the WI team will be stable he will start concentrating on personal performances.

    Its team building process which is in progress :).

  • on March 12, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    well captains need to win matches and that is all that matters and not their individual performance

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Tino Best might be number 8 not 11 he has a nearly got a test hundred after all

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Well another Test comes our way! I have my doubts about the full complexion of the team but I am a West Indian at heart and will support "my boys" even though I deeply think the selectors again made a fatal mistake to keep Pollard out .. again! I see no room for Shillingford. He is not as effective as Narine even though Narine did not get lots of wickets in his last few maiden tests. He is recognised by the word and ICC as the number one in 20T and the batsmen around the world have an innate fear of his bowling. I do not think Shillingford has that respect. Also if they had been watching Narine they would also know that he is increasing his stature as a good reliable batsmen. He can hit the ball! On Sammy: Let Sammy be Sammy for the Cricketing public. He may not always be scoring runs or taking wickets but he is a positive influence on the team and is optismism goes a long way than just scoring runs etc. He is also a very good role model for the younger guys and aspiring cricketers!

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    I put Ramdin at 6 because if these guys are going to play they must contribute not hide behind someone esl, this is where Sammy's place in the team become a problem because he is preventing the extra batsmen from playing and if you name the extra batsmen you loses a bowler. As I said before I have nothing against Sammy he did well to bring back the team from where it was to what it is now, but the time have come to move forward, I don't support playing a bowler short you need twenty wickets to win a game and Barbados is not the place for two spinners either three front line pace bowler is the way to go.

  • fah4 on March 12, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Will love to see a century from Chris Gayle.Simply love his batting.

    Best of luck to both the teams...

  • SNIFFLEATHER on March 12, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    Roach, Best and Gabriel must all play. If the opposition had a stronger attack, I would even leave out both Shillingford and Permaul, and play Deonarine to strengthen the batting. He is an underrated bowler. However, the opposition is Zimbabwe, and with all due respect West Indies are not likely to require the extra runs at no.6 from Deonarine, so I would select the following team...

    1.Gayle, 2.Powell, 3.Bravo, 4.Samuels, 5.Chanderpaul, 6.Ramdin(w), 7.Sammy(c), 8.Permaul, 9.Best, 10.Roach, 11.Gabriel

    Note: still no Delorn Johnson...?

  • adkum on March 11, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    As a WI cricket fan I would like to see my team victorious and bring back the pride and glory that the Lloyd and Richards' teams brought. However with the insularity displayed by the WI board I am not very optimistic. Can someone explain how is it that Sammy finds a place in the team. His statistics show his batting average in both test and ODI's at around 21. His 76 wickets in 31 tests have been taken at an excess of 34 runs average while his 69 wickets in 92 ODI's came at 42. No captain in the history of the game boasts such "stellar" stats. In today's competitive world one just have to look at what Dhoni, Smith, Clarke, Cook, Matthews, and now Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim and Zimbabwe's Taylor are doing to hold their places. Australia just sacked 4 players for not making their presentations to the team management. One wonders what presentation will Sammy make if he is ever called to do one.

  • mar2000 on March 13, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    Cricket at the "MECCA" in Barbados where one expect a hard and bouncy track that will be good for fast bowling and stroke play . Instead , on the first day the wicket keeper collecting balls down by his ankles .It is high time that we get a set of Groundsmen that can do things of old that will give a good contest . WI play 3 quicks and have no help on the first day from the pitch .

  • creekeetman on March 12, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    both sammy and best are not, never were, and never will be test cricketers... plain and simple.

  • on March 12, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    @adkum

    Do agree with you that Sammi doesn't deserve to be in the team on the basis of performance shown by him in the International cricket. But you should consider the achievement done by WI teams under his captaincy. 2 years back, WI teams was in worse situation and was performing worsen then the Bangladesh or for instance New Zealanders. Team leading itself is a skill, I am sure once the WI team will be stable he will start concentrating on personal performances.

    Its team building process which is in progress :).

  • on March 12, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    well captains need to win matches and that is all that matters and not their individual performance

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Tino Best might be number 8 not 11 he has a nearly got a test hundred after all

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Well another Test comes our way! I have my doubts about the full complexion of the team but I am a West Indian at heart and will support "my boys" even though I deeply think the selectors again made a fatal mistake to keep Pollard out .. again! I see no room for Shillingford. He is not as effective as Narine even though Narine did not get lots of wickets in his last few maiden tests. He is recognised by the word and ICC as the number one in 20T and the batsmen around the world have an innate fear of his bowling. I do not think Shillingford has that respect. Also if they had been watching Narine they would also know that he is increasing his stature as a good reliable batsmen. He can hit the ball! On Sammy: Let Sammy be Sammy for the Cricketing public. He may not always be scoring runs or taking wickets but he is a positive influence on the team and is optismism goes a long way than just scoring runs etc. He is also a very good role model for the younger guys and aspiring cricketers!

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    I put Ramdin at 6 because if these guys are going to play they must contribute not hide behind someone esl, this is where Sammy's place in the team become a problem because he is preventing the extra batsmen from playing and if you name the extra batsmen you loses a bowler. As I said before I have nothing against Sammy he did well to bring back the team from where it was to what it is now, but the time have come to move forward, I don't support playing a bowler short you need twenty wickets to win a game and Barbados is not the place for two spinners either three front line pace bowler is the way to go.

  • fah4 on March 12, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Will love to see a century from Chris Gayle.Simply love his batting.

    Best of luck to both the teams...

  • SNIFFLEATHER on March 12, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    Roach, Best and Gabriel must all play. If the opposition had a stronger attack, I would even leave out both Shillingford and Permaul, and play Deonarine to strengthen the batting. He is an underrated bowler. However, the opposition is Zimbabwe, and with all due respect West Indies are not likely to require the extra runs at no.6 from Deonarine, so I would select the following team...

    1.Gayle, 2.Powell, 3.Bravo, 4.Samuels, 5.Chanderpaul, 6.Ramdin(w), 7.Sammy(c), 8.Permaul, 9.Best, 10.Roach, 11.Gabriel

    Note: still no Delorn Johnson...?

  • SkylaDark on March 12, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Come on, Zimbabwe. Show that even "minnows" can win. Best of luck.

  • mihir_nam on March 12, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Good Luck Zimbabwe , Don't you think Ireland and Afghanistan/Netherlands should be elevated to Full Member status , So teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh get regular games against these new teams before facing top 8 teams

  • on March 12, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    I am looking forward to this Test. Hopefully my side, Zimbabwe, will show character and bounce back from the poor display during the limited overs matches. The key will be to build solid partnerships from early on, spirited fielding and consistent and controlled, rather than wayward, bowling. Depending on the final pitch report; I hope Zimbabwe take wickets through Utseya and Price (if the pitch is slow) while Mpofu/Jarvis provides support. On the batting side, I would I am expecting triple digit partnerships for Mawoyo/Masakadza, Mawoyo/Sibanda and Taylor/Sibanda.

  • on March 12, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    hope zim play well in test,batting main worry for taylor,hope for five day cricket.

  • on March 12, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    Sammy has scored over 456 runs in his last 10 test although his bowling stats could have been better with 17 wickets...... I will love to see Sammy at 7 and shillingofrd, Gabriel, Best and Roach.... shilly is pretty decent down the order

  • TeamSelector on March 12, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    Ramdin @ #6 ??? That must be a typo ... right ??? Am I the only one who thinks he's batting at least two numbers high? I think they're better off replacing Permaul with Deonarine & have him bat @ #6. I'm not exactly sure what Sammy's role in the team is ..... bowler, all rounder, 'captain' ..... but whatever he is, he needs to step up & bat @ #7.

  • on March 11, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    west indies team for tomorrow Gayle 1 Powell 2 Bravo 3 Samuel 4 Chanderpaul 5 Ramdin 6 Sammy 7 Shillingford 8 Roach 9 Best 10 Gabriel 11 thats the team they need to pick

  • on March 11, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    finally chance to see Chris Gayle in action..hope to see number of sixes frm him..

  • BRUTALANALYST on March 11, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    At Barbados surely W.I will play 3 front line pace bowlers not 2 spinners ? Gabriel Best and Roach all need to play here no compromises

  • Riddymon on March 11, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    FIRST - finally!! lol...I think that if they want to run two specialist spinners, they should bring back bishoo as the second spinner. It's been a bit unfair what's happened to him, going from ICC emerging player of the year to not representing the national side for over a year now (if memory serves me right). I'd say give him a run in one of these tests and build his confidence back up.

  • LifeWithBoundaries on March 11, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    I am looking forward to every bit of it! All the best especially to Samuels who came back!

  • LifeWithBoundaries on March 11, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    I am looking forward to every bit of it! All the best especially to Samuels who came back!

  • Riddymon on March 11, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    FIRST - finally!! lol...I think that if they want to run two specialist spinners, they should bring back bishoo as the second spinner. It's been a bit unfair what's happened to him, going from ICC emerging player of the year to not representing the national side for over a year now (if memory serves me right). I'd say give him a run in one of these tests and build his confidence back up.

  • BRUTALANALYST on March 11, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    At Barbados surely W.I will play 3 front line pace bowlers not 2 spinners ? Gabriel Best and Roach all need to play here no compromises

  • on March 11, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    finally chance to see Chris Gayle in action..hope to see number of sixes frm him..

  • on March 11, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    west indies team for tomorrow Gayle 1 Powell 2 Bravo 3 Samuel 4 Chanderpaul 5 Ramdin 6 Sammy 7 Shillingford 8 Roach 9 Best 10 Gabriel 11 thats the team they need to pick

  • TeamSelector on March 12, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    Ramdin @ #6 ??? That must be a typo ... right ??? Am I the only one who thinks he's batting at least two numbers high? I think they're better off replacing Permaul with Deonarine & have him bat @ #6. I'm not exactly sure what Sammy's role in the team is ..... bowler, all rounder, 'captain' ..... but whatever he is, he needs to step up & bat @ #7.

  • on March 12, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    Sammy has scored over 456 runs in his last 10 test although his bowling stats could have been better with 17 wickets...... I will love to see Sammy at 7 and shillingofrd, Gabriel, Best and Roach.... shilly is pretty decent down the order

  • on March 12, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    hope zim play well in test,batting main worry for taylor,hope for five day cricket.

  • on March 12, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    I am looking forward to this Test. Hopefully my side, Zimbabwe, will show character and bounce back from the poor display during the limited overs matches. The key will be to build solid partnerships from early on, spirited fielding and consistent and controlled, rather than wayward, bowling. Depending on the final pitch report; I hope Zimbabwe take wickets through Utseya and Price (if the pitch is slow) while Mpofu/Jarvis provides support. On the batting side, I would I am expecting triple digit partnerships for Mawoyo/Masakadza, Mawoyo/Sibanda and Taylor/Sibanda.

  • mihir_nam on March 12, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Good Luck Zimbabwe , Don't you think Ireland and Afghanistan/Netherlands should be elevated to Full Member status , So teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh get regular games against these new teams before facing top 8 teams