West Indies might have piled up a 206-run lead against Zimbabwe by the end of the second day in Dominica, but the pitch remains a tough one to bat on, according to Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who scored his 28th Test century on the day.
"It was a pretty tough day, hard work. You could see it was not an easy wicket to bat on," Chanderpaul said after play. "The ball was bouncing and turning a lot, and you had to really dig in. Some of the balls were bouncing, some were keeping low, you weren't always certain what the ball would do so you had to stay watchful and patient, and wait on the bad balls."
And stay patient Chanderpaul did, compiling 108 at a strike-rate of 38 in significant stands with Chris Gayle - who also scored a hundred - and Denesh Ramdin, who made 86. It was Chanderpaul's third score of over 100 in five Test innings, following scores of 203 not out and 150 not out on the tour to Bangladesh late last year.
Chanderpaul had to come out as early as the second ball of the day, after overnight batsman Marlon Samuels was bowled for 26 off the first delivery by a splendid Tendai Chatara yorker. "I was just about to sit and watch some cricket and Marlon got a good first ball," Chanderpaul laughed. "There wasn't much he could have done about it, it was a real beauty. He's pretty upset about it, that he missed out; hopefully we don't bat again but if he gets an opportunity again he'll want to cash in."
Given West Indies' big lead and the impact the spinners have been having - Zimbabwe lost eight of ten wickets to spin, while West Indies have lost five of eight to the slow bowlers so far - Samuels might not get that chance. Chanderpaul affirmed West Indies are in a position to dictate terms in this game: "We have a lead of over 200 so that's pretty good for us. All the spinners are making things happen on this pitch, Shane [Shillinford] turned up in the first innings, [Graeme] Cremer's showing it, Marlon showed it. Who knows what's going to happen second time around, but it's spinning and it's not going to stop spinning."