West Indies v Zimbabwe, 1st Test, Barbados, 2nd day March 13, 2013

West Indies strike after taking big lead


Zimbabwe 211 and 41 for 3 (Shillingford 2-9) trail West Indies 307 (Sammy 73, Ramdin 62, Samuels 51, Jarvis 5-54) by 55 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies were in danger of conceding an embarrassing first-innings lead on home soil to Test irregulars Zimbabwe, playing their first match in over a year. At 151 for 6 in pursuit of 211, the captain Darren Sammy arrived and did what he normally does. He attacked. And for once, he survived long enough. The result was a 69-ball 73 that turned the game and sent Zimbabwe into defensive mode, like Marlon Samuels' assault in the morning had done. It also gave West Indies a sizeable lead, the importance of which was driven home when Zimbabwe lost three quick wickets towards the close.

Both innings came when Zimbabwe were in a position to exert pressure, but couldn't, largely due to one bowler consistently leaking runs. Samuels had targeted Graeme Cremer, not allowing him to settle as he took 32 off 26 deliveries from the legspinner. Brendan Taylor persisted with Cremer, over his other specialist spinner Ray Price, and Sammy took further toll. Forty-seven of Sammy's runs came off the 28 balls he faced from Cremer. In contrast, Price bowled just 27 deliveries to Sammy and Samuels combined, and conceded only seven.

All Sammy and Samuels wanted to do was to hit boundaries, which is what Zimbabwe allowed them, with Cremer serving up long hops and overpitched deliveries. All the four sixes Sammy hit came against Cremer, as did most of his fours. When Cremer bowled full, Sammy powered him straight down the ground. When he dropped it short often, he was pulled over midwicket. Samuels cut and pulled Cremer despite the bounce in the pitch, and also stepped out to drive him against the turn through midwicket. By the time the restrictive Price was given more bowling, the damage had already been done.

Denesh Ramdin played an important knock, giving solid support to Sammy during their century partnership for the seventh wicket. Then, after Sammy chopped Hamilton Masakadza onto his stumps shortly before tea, Ramdin patiently built the lead further along with Tino Best, who became Kyle Jarvis' fifth victim to end the innings.

The part-time medium of Masakadza had claimed Samuels as well, off what proved to be the last ball before lunch. Samuels was in imperious touch on his comeback from facial injury, but could not resist going for one more boundary, and edged Masakadza to the wicketkeeper. Till that moment, Samuels hadn't let West Indies feel any strain after the big wickets of Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo. He'd come out and gone after the bowling so clinically that it was Zimbabwe who felt constrained enough to let Price start with a defensive line outside leg.

Jarvis had given Zimbabwe an early opening when he switched to round the wicket and had Bravo edging to the wicketkeeper in the ninth over of the day. At 43 for 3, West Indies should have been made to grind for their runs. Samuels and Gayle had other ideas.

Samuels hit Cremer out of the attack. Gayle drove the seamers through extra cover and down the ground, although he was far more watchful compared to Samuels. He was leaving them outside off stump and defending solidly. It needed something out of the ordinary to dislodge him, and the debutant medium-pacer Tendai Chatara provided that. First ball after the first drinks break, he produced one that reared up at Gayle from short of a good length, and carried to second slip off the glove.

Samuels was not going to change his approach despite 81 for 4. Shivnarine Chanderpaul added still more solidity to the batting and the duo's partnership went past 50 in next to no time. Zimbabwe turned to Masakadza and Price and the pace of scoring came down with lunch approaching, before Samuels threw it away after reaching his fifty in 67 balls.

West Indies slipped from 144 for 5 at lunch to 151 for 6 soon after, as Chanderpaul under-edged an attempted pull off Jarvis to the wicketkeeper. Two overs later, Cremer was brought back, probably to lure Sammy to his fall. Only, Sammy wasn't to be lured today.

It was Tino Mawoyo who was lured into chasing a wide, full away-swinging delivery in the eighth over of Zimbabwe's second innings, only to edge it to Sammy in the slip cordon. It was the first ball Shannon Gabriel bowled, after Kemar Roach and Best had been far too short with the new ball.

Zimbabwe's day, which had begun so promisingly, was to end on a worse note. Masakadza failed to keep his gloves away from Shane Shillingford's first ball, a seemingly harmless short delivery that carried to backward short leg. Vusi Sibanda tried to turn Shillingford to the leg side, only to offer a tame return catch off the leading edge. After a day on which they could have taken a morale-boosting lead, Zimbabwe were now struggling to avoid defeat on day three.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Albert on March 14, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    So scoring runs against a weak team should be easy? So I guess we should drop Bravo, Pollard ad Gayle cuz they can't score runs against Zim in a test. Give me a break. Runs is runs and wickets are wickets. Everyone just care about their favorite player. If is their favorite player who get the wicket or runs they start say how good they be.

  • joel on March 14, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    Well done to Sammy for his 70. However, he would not be able to do that against decent opposition fielding and bowling, which is why both Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo would fill his space quite well. I would personally go for Sars, because he would be a good partner for both the solidity of Chanders, and the fluency of Samuels in the middle order.I think Sammy's skills are well suited to the shorter formats, where he would flourish, but for Tests, he cannot justify his continued selection.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Sorry "old_chap". You are being somewhat unreasonable. If you are going to discount runs scored against Cremer then you must also discount Sammy's dismissals by excellent bowlers. Or am I being unreasonable.

  • hafeez on March 14, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    From what I have seen off Shillngford he looks very decent bowler and will be very effective in all 3 forms for the Windies. As for ZMB they have been very poor,But for Jarvis. The ZMB bowling is OK,its the batting which is so dam pathetic

  • Soheb on March 14, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    whoever says zimbabwe is better than Bangladesh, just check the score now zimbabwe 58/6 .. lol

  • Tony on March 14, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Whoa people, dont get blinded by the 6's. Again, not hating on Sammy, but I thought we did not want Pollard on the team. Ya think Sammy cameo comes close. Listen, the blokes a good guy, probably one of the better person on the team and I saying that from what I have seen and heard from him. But again, to use a spot just to pick someone with good leadership skills is not the best way moving forward. He did a great job rebuilding this WI team, but when there is better talent, the selectors needs to bring it together. There is talk of Ramdhim captaining, maybe people see something there. If so, then this series would have been a great opportunity to try him and use Sammy spot for a better allrounder or another batsman. WI have the talent, dont let it go to waste. I do agree Sammy should captain the ODI and T20 sides. Well maybe one day they will get it right, hopefully the other chaps stay around long enough to represent WI

  • Allan on March 14, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    RALLY_WINDIES -It is a big lead relative to the 211 that ZIM scored in the 1st innings. Given the dact that ZIM has lost 3 wickets inside the lead, it really looks massive now. In absolute terms, the lead is not big, but in relative terms, it is.

  • Derek on March 14, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    @NJ_De_Zoysa you are very close to what a lot of Sammy detractors are missing. WI have needed a genuine leader since Clive Lloyd left. The team has had his stars. The team now has a leader but a group of stars who lack consistency. Gayle is devoid of the responsibility so it's time for him to perform. Lendl Simmons should be pushing his countryman Ramdin, if Ramdin continues to fail with the bat then let Simmons be the next Dujon. DM Bravo must perform otherwise Fuddin or Deonarin or Charles should be given their opportunity. I do not support chopping and changing so if Bravo fails this series he should be out.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Old-chap come on man! If the man is not performing then he must not be on the team. But sammy is all waysworking hard. Sammy is good at performing especially when our recognized skillfull players are down. The selectors are doing fine. Although I do not always understand some of their decisions. But then again I do not need to know understand everything. It is their job not mine.

  • Nishal on March 14, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Yes,Sammy is not a decent bowler or batsmen.But West Indies only want a captain who can unite the team.Not a captain who can score hundreds or getting bag of wickets. You know What happened with Lara. WI cricket only want a leader for their stars.

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