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The Preview by Abhishek Purohit
March 19, 2013
Match factsMarch 20-24, Roseau
The Barbados Test between West Indies and Zimbabwe lasted just over seven sessions, with the hosts winning by nine wickets a few minutes after a forced lunch break on day three. If you didn't see the game, you would find it hard to believe that Zimbabwe dominated at least two sessions, and even had a reasonable shot at taking a first-innings lead. They had West Indies 151 for 6 after making 211, and it needed a game-changing knock from Darren Sammy at No. 8 to suppress Zimbabwe.
The visitors were competitive with the ball, barring the expensive legspinner Graeme Cremer, who was targeted by Sammy and Marlon Samuels. It is their capitulation with the bat in both innings that will bother Zimbabwe. They were 100 for 2 before collapsing to 211 in the first innings, and lasted 41.4 overs in the second, making 107. An apparent inability to survive even straightforward offbreaks from Shane Shillingford and Samuels led to Zimbabwe losing as many as 13 wickets to spin, nine of them to Shillingford alone.
In the previous Test played at Roseau's Windsor Park, the venue for the second Test, spinners claimed 26 of the 40 wickets Australia and West Indies lost. Shillingford himself picked up a match haul of ten, Nathan Lyon followed with seven, and even Michael Clarke's part-time slow left-arm fetched him a five-for. Those figures show Zimbabwe have their work cut out, especially with Sammy saying the pitch for this match looked similar to the one on which his side had played Australia.
West Indies may be on their longest winning streak since 1988, but they will have reflected on their position in Barbados before Sammy bailed them out. Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, of all people, were guilty of throwing away starts. The opening partnership between Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell began with a 254-run stand against New Zealand in July 2012, but hasn't produced anything of note since then. A deflated Zimbabwe side, who have lost all internationals on this tour, could be a soft target for the West Indies batsmen to make amends.
Form guideWest Indies: WWWWW (Completed matches, most recent first)
Players to watch
The West Indies fast bowlers were a handful in Barbados, hitting the Zimbabwe batsmen several times with short deliveries. To their credit, the visitors did not back away but the quicks could easily have taken more than the seven wickets they managed between the three of them. Whether all three of them play in Roseau or not, they will come hard at Zimbabwe once again.
The tourists' captain Brendan Taylor has had scores on this trip of 8, 0 & 39 in the ODIs, 0 & 4 in the Twenty20s, 20 & 20 in the three-day tour match, and 26 & 6 in the Barbados Test. On the rare occasion he's got off to a start, he has not been able to convert it into anything substantial. The way he fell to Shillingford in the second innings in Barbados, stepping out early on, stopping midway, and nudging to forward short leg, showed confusion. He has one last chance to salvage something from a horror tour.
Barring injuries, the only decision for West Indies to make would be whether to include an additional spinner at the expense of the third fast bowler.
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 and 9 Shannon Gabriel/Tino Best/Veerasammy Permaul, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Shane Shillingford
Will Zimbabwe persist with Cremer? Or will they bring in the steadier offspin of Prosper Utseya, with so many left-handers in the West Indies top six? Will they tinker with the batting?
Zimbabwe (possible) 1 Tino Mawoyo, 2 Vusi Sibanda, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt), 5 Craig Ervine, 6 Malcolm Waller/Sean Williams, 7 Regis Chakabva (wk), 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Ray Price, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Tendai Chatara
Stats and trivia
"So far we have played five specialist batsmen and four specialist bowlers and we are looking to continue in that way."
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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?