July 22, 2001

West Indies complete crushing victory despite Campbell's century

Shortly after tea, West Indies wrapped up a fine victory over Zimbabwe by an innings and 176 runs. Zimbabwe, after looking good with a superb opening partnership, then turned in an even more abysmal batting performance than in their first innings, their last eight wickets surrendering miserably for a mere 64 runs.

Zimbabwe continued their second innings from their overnight score of 112 without loss. Alistair Campbell looked comfortable from the start, although past experience has shown that this does not necessarily mean anything significant; Dion Ebrahim survived a few uncomfortable moments, and the pair was soon accumulating safely and steadily.

Four leg-byes off Ebrahim's boot took the pair past Zimbabwe's previous first-wicket record of 156, by Grant Flower and Gavin Rennie against New Zealand in Harare during the 1997/98 series, the match in which Flower scored a century in both innings. The West Indian bowling was not particularly dangerous - perhaps there was a degree of complacency after such an overwhelming first-innings lead - but both batsmen played sensibly, picking up runs more through well-judged ones and twos rather than boundaries.

The stand was broken in unfortunate circumstances at 164 when Ebrahim (71) was beaten on the back foot by a ball from Colin Stuart that appeared to be going over the top of the stumps, and given out lbw by umpire Robinson. For 227 minutes the West Indian advance had been held up, for the only time in the match. The openers had scored more than their entire team in the first innings, and a great deal more than the rest of their batsmen were destined to score in this innings.

Tatenda Taibu was promoted to number three in place of the injured Stuart Carlisle. His inexperience against bowlers of such pace was clear, but he made positive strokes when he got the chance before also falling lbw to Stuart for 4, less controversially.

Campbell, 86 at lunch, enjoyed good fortune on 97, when he drove a catch to mid-off, only for a no-ball to be called by umpire Robinson, who later in the over gave Stuart a third lbw, Craig Wishart departing for four.

Guy Whittall came in next, not the most appropriate partner for a batsman who might want to steal a single for his century, but Campbell managed to steer a two to third man off Neil McGarrell to take him to his second century in 53 Tests, and his first at home. It took him 221 minutes and came in his first Test opening the innings, although he regularly opens in one-day internationals.

Sadly, Campbell fell to another unnecessary dismissal, choosing to shoulder arms to McGarrell and being adjudged convincingly lbw by umpire Riazuddin, leg outside the line but playing no stroke. He had surpassed his previous Test best of 102.

From here, 193 for four, it seemed all was downhill. Grant Flower (two) snicked a sharp turner from McGarrell to slip, and Zimbabwe were 195 for five. The runs dried up almost completely; a strokeless Heath Streak (two) was brilliantly caught by Sarwan in the slips off McGarrell, while Whittall took 31 balls and 59 minutes to get off the mark. With a day and a half to go, a defensive mindset was utterly without point.

Even Andy Blignaut (nine) looked insipid, but Bryan Strang is incapable of inflicting boredom when at the crease. His brief seven off seven balls was a flash of light in a dismal innings, before he was brilliantly caught at short leg by substitute Leon Garrick off the full face of the bat at short leg.

The end, a fine victory for West Indies and ignominious defeat for Zimbabwe, came in the second over after tea at 228, as Raymond Price (four) was out to another brilliant catch by Garrick at short leg, leaving Whittall unbeaten on 10 off 64 balls, having just become the third batsmen to register double figures in the innings. King was again the bowler; McGarrell had the best figures of four for 38, while Stuart had three for 45.

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