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March 23, 2013
As West Indies completed an innings and 65-run victory over Zimbabwe in Dominica to wrap up the series 2-0, there were a number of milestones achieved: wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin claimed his 150th Test dismissal, West Indies won six consecutive Tests for the first time in over two decades, and offspinner Shane Shillingford snatched the team record for the highest wicket tally in a two-match series from Courtney Walsh.
The pitch aided the spinners, and Shillingford made the most of it, adding another five-for to the one he took in the first innings to finish with a match haul of 10 for 93. His 19 wickets in the series - three more than Walsh against New Zealand in 1994-95 - came at 10.52 apiece.
Shillingford put his success down to perseverance: "Today, I concentrated and was willing to be patient to get my wickets. It was a matter of not being complacent and applying ourselves. One of our goals was not to be complacent. We knew once we had them down we had to keep them down and that is what we did."
In the home series against Australia in April 2012 too Shillingford had good returns, taking 14 wickets in two Tests at 26.14 - second only to Kemar Roach on West Indies' wickets chart. However, in the past year, he did not feature in the squad that played New Zealand at home and Bangladesh away.
Shillingford recalled the disappointment of being overlooked: "When I was dropped I felt a certain way, but I never let it get to me too deep. I kept looking forward to the first-class season, to go there and take some wickets and work my way back into the Test team. It was hard work to get back, but now I'm back I plan to stay here."
On the third morning in Roseau, West Indies captain Darren Sammy declared as rain delayed the start of play, leaving his bowlers with a lead of 206. And they delivered, bowling Zimbabwe out in 42.2 overs to seal victory in less than three days. While Sammy and Tino Best struck once each, it was fellow offspinner Marlon Samuels who provided Shillingford with the most effective support once again, taking 3 for 35, including two wickets in two balls to finish off the tail.
Shillingford said he knew the pitch would assist him, and he was happy to have the support of his team-mates as well. "Here is one of the places where the wicket is spin-friendly, I knew I had to get the balls in the right areas and build the pressure, and that is what I tried to do out there," he said. "It was a really great team performance and we are all very proud of what we achieved. The spirit was really good."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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