BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – Bowling coach Roddy Estwick warned yesterday that the turning Queens Sports Club pitch remained a tricky one, and said West Indies’ batsmen needed to apply themselves on today’s third day in order to put the Caribbean side in a strong position to win the opening Test.
The Windies ended the day on 88 for one in their second innings, 148 runs ahead after dismissing Zimbabwe for a paltry 159 in their first innings.
“The game has still got a long way to go. It’s only day two. We only lead now by 148 so there’s still a long way to go,” Estwick told reporters here after the visitors dominated the second day.
“Zimbabwe at lunch were 101 for three and they lost their last seven for [58 runs] so the game can change very, very quickly on a pitch like this. What we’ve got to do is keep [Zimbabwe] out the game as long as possible, try and bat until lunch time [tomorrow] and then assess from there.
“You can’t get ahead of yourself on this pitch or in a cricket game – there’s still three days left so there is a lot of cricket left to be played. We’ve got to be patient, we’ve got to absorb the pressure.
“I’m sure Zimbabwe will rest up tonight and come hard tomorrow so we’ve got to be prepared for that challenge and then go from there.”
Dismissed for a disappointed 219 in their first innings on Saturday’s opening day, West Indies hit back strongly to bundle out Zimbabwe cheaply for grab a valuable first innings lead of 60 runs.
They were spearheaded by frontline leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo who picked up five for 79 – his fourth five-wicket haul in Tests.
Estwick praised the 31-year-old for the outstanding effort especially after his struggles on the recent tour of England where he managed just three wickets in two Tests at an average of 43.
“He didn’t have the best tour of England. It is a very dificult place to bowl in but when you look at [last] September to this September, if you have a check you would see that Bishoo would’ve got 30 wickets in that period,” Estwick pointed out.
“So he’s been quite successful. He got eight wickets in Dubai on a flat track as well so he does his job. The bowling unit has been outstanding. You can’t fault the bowling unit and Bishoo is very much a part of that bowling unit.”
Despite the spin-friendly nature of the track, pacers Kemar Roach and Jason Holder cashed in with two wickets apiece, to provide support for Bishoo.
The combined effort saw Zimbabwe, who resumed the day on 19 without loss, lose three wickets in the first session before suffering a terminal collpase after lunch.
Estwick said the bowling display had just been an extension of the form of the Windies attack on recent tours.
“Over the last year we’ve been bowling quite well. The bowling department has been functioning so I’m not surprised that we were able to bowl them out under the score,” he said.
“What we wanted to do was make sure it became a second innings game. Once you make a score as low as 219, you know it’s going to be an uphill task but we felt that once Bishoo could come to the party – and our seamers have been outstanding for a whole year – that we could restrict them to this score.”