'My best performance ever' - Shillingford
West Indies offspinner Shane Shillingford has a ten-wicket haul against Australia, but he rated his match-winning effort against Zimbabwe in Barbados as the best performance of his budding career. Shillingford's 9 for 107 helped West Indies achieve their fifth consecutive Test victory, beating Zimbabwe by nine wickets in two days and two hours at Kensington Oval.
"I would rate this as my best performance ever. When I got the ten wickets against Australia last year, we didn't win the match, so there wasn't anything to celebrate," Shillingford said after his team had taken a 1-0 lead in the series. "Today I got six, and ended with nine in the match. We have something to celebrate - we won the match [by a] big [margin] and I'm happy to be part of it. That makes it special."
Shillingford's performance in the second innings - 6 for 49 - was his career best and it helped dismiss Zimbabwe for 109, giving West Indies a target of 12. He used his height to good effect, extracting considerable bounce from a pitch that offered spin as well, and his variety - offbreaks, straighter ones, and changes in pace and trajectory - challenged the batsmen.
"I was quite surprised to see how helpful the pitch was from the first day, so I decided to exploit it," he said. "I was able to get spin and bounce and that was great for me. I knew after that, all I had to do was get the ball in the right areas and I would get my reward."
It was also his return to Test cricket too, having last played a solitary match on the tour of England in May 2012. He had been selected ahead of Sunil Narine and Veerasammy Permaul on the back of a strong first-class performance - 24 wickets in three matches this season.
"I played a couple of games here during the first-class season and picked up wickets," Shillingford said. "I just gave it my all. I tried to bowl a consistent line first up, and then tried to spin the ball as much as possible.
"Before the match, the captain and the coach spoke to us about the importance of this match and series, and the need to win and make it five straight. I was confident from the time I came into the match. I always do well when I play at Kensington against Barbados, so I came into this match knowing I had a crucial role to play."
West Indies and Zimbabwe play the last Test in Roseau from March 20.