Bishoo five-for helps West Indies wrest control
Stumps West Indies 219 and 88 for 1 (Brathwaite 38*, Hope 32*) lead Zimbabwe 159 (Masakadza 42, Ervine 39, Bishoo 5-79) by 148 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In a Test match being played in fast-forward mode, 11 wickets fell on the second day at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo as West Indies surged into the ascendancy. Legspinner Devendra Bishoo was the catalyst for the turnaround, scything through Zimbabwe's top order to finish with 5 for 79.
His first ball of the morning was hit for six, but Bishoo soon found his rhythm. In an unbroken 23-over spell on either side of lunch, he undid all of the hard work done by Zimbabwe's bowlers, with spin, bounce and accuracy. The hosts were bowled out for 159 during the extended post-lunch session, and by the close West Indies had stretched their lead to 148, with Kraigg Brathwaite and Kyle Hope adding an unbeaten 63 for the second wicket.
For a while, it appeared that Zimbabwe might continue to chug along gamely despite the early loss of Solomon Mire. But once Bishoo settled, West Indies made regular inroads as Zimbabwe lost 9 for 68 from a comfortable 91 for 1.
Hamilton Masakadza, who had muscled Bishoo's opening delivery over long on for six, could not smother the turn of a fizzing legbreak and feathered an edge through to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich for 42 - the highest score of Zimbabwe's innings. Brendan Taylor's second coming then lasted all of seven deliveries before he reverse swept Bishoo into Jermaine Blackwood's hands at slip, the fielder having moved in anticipation of the stroke.
With his dismissal Zimbabwe slipped to 93 for 3, and Sean Williams endured a working-over against the pace of Shannon Gabriel as the hosts went into the lunch interval without further loss. At that point, the innings - and the match - was still in the balance, but the afternoon belonged entirely to West Indies.
Bishoo's effort was well backed up by the pace attack, who utilized the dryness of the surface to extract significant reverse swing. Kemar Roach had a flat-footed Sean Williams caught behind wafting lazily at one that left him off the track, while Jason Holder, hiding the shiny side of the ball in his hands during his run-up, castled Malcolm Waller with one that hooped in from outside off to beat a loose defensive poke. Between times, Bishoo bowled unchanged and found regular success against an increasingly jittery middle order.
Sikandar Raza looked a little ungainly against the quicks, and positively frenetic against spin. He might have been stumped very early on, had the ball not deviated off his elbow and away from Dowrich, but kept using his feet and eventually swiped underneath a flighted delivery to top-edge a catch to Gabriel at long off.
That gave Bishoo his third, with Zimbabwe still 96 in arrears. Straight after the afternoon drinks break, he had his fourth, finally getting the better of Craig Ervine with one that went straight on with the arm to beat the left-hander's sweep and strike him right in front of middle stump. With Bishoo ragging it square from one end and the pace attack reversing the ball from the other end, full capitulation from Zimbabwe seemed only a matter of time.
Regis Chakabva flapped a half-hearted cut tamely to backward point to give Bishoo his fourth five-wicket haul in Test cricket - and his third away from home. When Graeme Cremer inside-edged a drive off Holder Zimbabwe were 147 for 9. The last pair of Chris Mpofu and Kyle Jarvis added just 12 more before Mpofu nicked off to a length delivery from Gabriel.
Brathwaite and Powell strode out to open the batting a second time inside two days with the opportunity to bat Zimbabwe out of a match. They weathered steady new-ball spells from Kyle Jarvis and Christopher Mpofu, but when spin was introduced Powell fell almost immediately, playing inside a delivery from Cremer to see his off stump disturbed.
West Indies were 25 for 1 then, and with both Cremer and Williams gaining alarming turn and bounce, Zimbabwe were not yet out of the match. Hope was offered an early reprieve when a tough chance went down at short leg, but soon got his feet moving and repeatedly shovelled the spinners into the leg side. Brathwaite, similarly legside in his technique, was also unafraid to loft the ball and cracked Cremer over long on for six early in his innings.
Neither he nor Hope gave Zimbabwe much of a sniff thereafter, and though there was still turn on offer in the afternoon it seemed some of the bite had gone out of the track. But there is still an awful lot of time left in a match during which 21 wickets have already fallen - and all but seven of those to spin. With a little more hard work, West Indies are one or two sessions from closing out the first Test.
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town