West Indies extend lead to over 200

John Ward

July 28, 2001

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The weather was sunny, but cold and windy as West Indies set out in their efforts to build a match-winning lead over Zimbabwe. Apart from schoolchildren bussed in from the development areas in the townships, the crowd remained very small, as no doubt the population were unimpressed by either the temperature or the Zimbabwean performance on the first day. By the close Zimbabwe, having conceded a deficit of 216 runs on first innings, had scored 27 for one wicket, lost in controversial circumstances.

Zimbabwe struck with the sixth ball of the morning, as Shivnarine Chanderpaul, without addition to the overnight 126 for two or his score of 74, nibbled at a ball from Heath Streak outside his off stump and nicked a straightforward catch to the 'keeper. It was the 24th time Chanderpaul has passed fifty in Test cricket, and only twice has he gone on to reach three figures. Two overs later Hooper drove Streak to the cover boundary and West Indies had taken the lead.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, who managed only three runs off his first 50 balls, struggled to find his touch against an attack showing more purpose than it had the previous evening, but finally began to open up. When Andy Blignaut replaced Streak, Hooper pulled him effortlessly for six; then, when Bryan Strang returned, Hooper (39) drove a catch straight to short mid-wicket; 180 for four.

Zimbabwe might have struck again but a rare error by wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu, diving in front of the slips, let Marlon Samuels off on four. After lunch Samuels (39) made Zimbabwe pay dearly for a while, as he drove beautifully straight and on the off side, frequently leaving the field standing. Then, drawn forward and deceived by Raymond Price, he edged a catch to slip. Price, although not always as accurate as he might have been, troubled the batsmen at times with unexpected turn and bounce.

The second new ball claimed Courtney Browne (13), pushing outside the off stump to a ball from Blignaut to be caught by Taibu. Sarwan in the meantime had passed his fifty, batting with great confidence and the occasional fine stroke, especially the cover drive, but with his eyes firmly set on a maiden Test century.

Neil McGarrell proved a useful ally at the crease, but Sarwan was unfortunate to miss the century he deserved; taking a quick single to mid-off, he was narrowly run out for 86 by a brilliant direct hit from Hamilton Masakadza. He had faced 226 balls in 303 minutes and hit 13 fours, and West Indies were 333 for seven.

Colin Stuart scored one before being lbw to Strang, who also had McGarrell caught in the gully for 33, while Price finished the innings at 347 by bowling Marlon Black, swinging across the line, for six. West Indies led by 216 on first innings.

Dion Ebrahim and Alistair Campbell had eight overs to negotiate before the close, and both began dourly before taking advantage of some loose balls. Ebrahim (12) was given out caught at the wicket off Colin Stuart in the final over, the ball rebounding off his body. Television commentators described umpire Jayaprakash's decision as a 'shocker'.

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