Gayle, Chanderpaul tons put West Indies in control
West Indies 381 for 8 (Chanderpaul 108, Gayle 101, Ramdin 86) lead Zimbabwe 175 (Shillingford 5-59, Samuels 3-15) by 206 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It has been a long tour for Zimbabwe, beaten in all six matches against West Indies so far, but on the second day of the Roseau Test they were presented with a new experience, when they finally fell under the wheel of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. His 28th Test century took him to within one of Bradman - albeit from almost three times as many matches - and, coming after Chris Gayle's more belligerent effort, left Zimbabwe facing a 206-run deficit and the prospect of another probing from the spin-quisition on Friday.
Chanderpaul's 173-run stand with Denesh Ramdin, who added his second half-century of the series, all but snuffed out Zimbabwean hopes of making a contest of the match. There were numerous half-chances and missed opportunities, and on 88 he was hit on the helmet, but it looked as if Chanderpaul would be there at the close, if not this time next week, until Sean Williams claimed a dubious catch in the covers off Prosper Utseya. Recourse to the third umpire would surely have seen Chanderpaul reprieved - but perhaps even the officials felt that he'd had a long enough go by then.
Zimbabwe will have to put up a much stiffer display with the bat if they are going to make West Indies utilise their second innings, but if they absorbed anything other than sweat and dirt during Chanderpaul's near six-hour stay at the crease then it would be the lessons of self-denial and discipline that are so important for success in Test cricket.
It is easy to caricature Chanderpaul as seemingly the only man alive still playing timeless Tests. Crabbing and shuffling around the crease, he sometimes appears to be shot-less but he is a master accumulator and his occasional glides through the covers and flicks to leg steadily wore the edge off the Zimbabwe bowling. He no longer plays limited-overs cricket and only made 26 in Barbados but here he set his mind to reaching a first Test hundred against Zimbabwe - he only needs Sri Lanka to complete the set - going back above Mahela Jayawardene on the leading run-scorers' list in the process. Chanderpaul now lies eighth, with Steve Waugh in his ambit.
He faced 284 balls for his 108 runs, twice escaping chances to leg slip off Graeme Cremer, who toiled long and hard for his 2 for 102. Zimbabwe's application could not be faulted, the plodding run rate attesting to their dogged approach in the field, and four wickets fell in the final hour as Cremer and Utseya finally garnered some reward. The spin that had manifested itself so extravagantly on the first day was largely absent for the Zimbabwe bowlers but Shane Shillingford has already proved himself adept on this surface and he will have a chance to assess conditions at the wicket in the morning, should West Indies decide to continue batting.
Zimbabwe had started the second day in the best possible fashion, with a wicket from the first delivery - inevitably, it could only go downhill from there. Gayle roused himself after an unusually tentative performance on the previous evening to record his 15th century in Tests - his first significant innings since making 150 and 64 on his comeback last year - but added only 40 to his overnight score before a brilliant catch from Kyle Jarvis removed him for 101.
Having collapsed in a tangle of limbs against spin in their first innings, Zimbabwe needed early wickets to prevent the hosts careering away from them. With Gayle and Marlon Samuels at the crease, and a deficit of only 61, there was every prospect of West Indies cracking on but Tendai Chatara threw a sleeper under the train with his opening delivery, full and wickedly swinging from leg stump to hit off as Samuels played around the ball.
The unexpected breakthrough ended a 79-run partnership and allowed the bowlers to create some pressure. Chatara, in particular, extracted seam movement from the pitch but after Gayle's dismissal with the score on 181 - and the lead just 6 - the bowlers were to send down more than 50 wicketless overs in succession as the fourth-wicket pairing of Chanderpaul and Ramdin ground on, inch by unforgiving inch.
Chanderpaul may be among the most difficult batsmen in Test cricket to dislodge but he required a bit of luck as he was starting out, edging Chatara short of the slips and nearly playing on to Jarvis. There was also a sharp chance to leg slip against Cremer but Hamilton Masakadza was unable to get his hands under the ball; a review was wasted when an Utseya delivery was shown to be pitching outside leg and missing off.
After scoring a couple of early boundaries, Chanderpaul battened down the hatches. Gayle, too, seemed becalmed, as 44 came from the first 17 overs of the day. Even in Test cricket, Gayle is hard to tie down, however, and he moved from 81 to 100 in five deliveries, three of them swatted lazily over the ropes. One run after reaching his century, Gayle miscued taking the attack to Utseya again but it took a terrific catch from Jarvis, running in circles under a swirling ball at wide long-off, to remove him. Gayle had been sent to Room 101 and, late in the day, Sibanda failed to grasp a catch with Chanderpaul on the same score. It may not be difficult to work out which player the Zimbabweans would have chosen to consign for all eternity.
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo