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The Report by Abhishek Purohit
March 14, 2013
West Indies 307 (Sammy 73, Ramdin 62, Samuels 51, Jarvis 5-54) and 12 for 1 beat Zimbabwe 211 (Mawoyo 50, Samuels 4-13) and 107 (Ervine 23*, Shillingford 6-49) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Shane Shillingford, on his international comeback, ran through a clueless line-up to take his best Test figures as Zimbabwe batted like the Test irregulars they are. West Indies needed just under two hours on the third morning to end the Zimbabwe second innings, although their win was delayed by the farce of a lunch break taken after three overs of their tiny chase.
There would have been no need for West Indies to bat again, had Craig Ervine not been put down twice after a wicket each had gone down in the day's first two overs. There was nothing in the Kensington Oval pitch or in the West Indies attack to justify Zimbabwe lasting only 41.4 overs. There was bounce and some turn for Shillingford alright, but only one of his six wickets, that of Graeme Cremer, was off a delivery that came close to being called unplayable.
It was Zimbabwe's inability to keep down testing, but pretty regular, deliveries that led to their downfall. But for a side that kept itself out of the Test arena for six years and was playing only its fifth Test since ending the exile in August 2011, ability to survive Test-quality bowling is hard to develop without exposure.
That inability was evident in the number of batsmen, three in each innings, who fell to offspin in the leg trap. Few Test specialist batsmen would have fallen so easily. Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe captain, summed it up when he stepped out to Shillingford in the day's first over, suddenly stopped and jabbed a length offbreak to forward short leg. It continued a horror tour for Taylor with scores of 8, 0 & 39 in the ODIs, 0 & 4 in the Twenty20s, 20 & 20 in the three-day tour match, and 26 & 6 in this Test.
A few overs later, Malcolm Waller again exposed another area of weakness against spin. He waited deep in the crease as a Shillingford offbreak spun into his thigh pad, but failed to keep the bat out of the way, and got an inside edge to forward short leg.
The next two wickets were earned by Shillingford. He bowled Regis Chakabva with a flighted straighter one as the batsman pushed forward expecting turn. Cremer got a brute that kicked and straightened from a good length to take the edge to the wicketkeeper. Shillingford was accurate throughout the match, and got considerable lift and, at times, sharp turn.
Zimbabwe's spineless showing with the bat, apart from the first session of the game, hid a few West Indies shortcomings. They were under danger of conceding the first-innings lead on day two, before their captain Darren Sammy bailed them out with a match-turning knock from No. 8. They dropped a few catches, including Ervine twice this morning, once by Chris Gayle off Shillingford at slip and once by Darren Bravo at third slip off Tino Best.
Shannon Gabriel ended the innings with two wickets in three balls, leaving Ervine stranded. Kieran Powell had his second failure of the match as he stabbed a Tendai Chatara lifter to gully. When Chris Gayle scored the winning runs, it was the first time since 1988 that West Indies had won five successive Tests. The opposition back then during a seven-match streak were England and Australia; three of the current five wins have come against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?