BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo’s fourth five-wicket haul in Tests handed West Indies a precious 60-run first innings lead, and the Caribbean side then batted themselves into control of the opening Test against Zimbabwe on the second day here yesterday.
Exploiting the turning pitch at Queens Sports Club, the 31-year-old picked up five for 79 as Zimbabwe, responding to West Indies’ disappointing 219, were restricted to a paltry 159 in their first innings.
Pacers Kemar Roach (2-23) and Jason Holder (2-25) both supported with two wickets apiece to ensure there was no revival by the hosts.
Opener Hamilton Masakadza top-scored with 42, Craig Ervine got 39 and Solomon Mire chipped in with 27, but the hosts lost their way from their lunch time position of 101 three – their last seven wickets tumbling for a mere 58 runs.
Left-hander Kieran Powell then fell cheaply for 17 as West Indies stumbled slightly at the start but opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who ended 38 not out and Kyle Hope, unbeaten on 32, guided the visitors to the close on 88 for one, courtesy of an unbroken 63-run, second wicket partnership.
Brathwaite has so far consumed 99 deliveries and struck a four and a six while Hope has counted four boundaries in a 65-ball innings.
The partnership was crucial as it takes West Indies into the third day of the fast-moving Test, 148 runs to the good.
Having endured the worst of the exchanges on Saturday’s day one, the Windies were keen on finding early breakthroughs and managed one in the first hour, after Zimbabwe resumed on 19 without loss.
Masakadza put on 44 for the first wicket with debutant Mire who faced 36 balls and counted four fours and a six before gifting his wicket by tugging Roach to Brathwaite at mid-wicket, half-hour into the day’s play.
The right-handed Masakadza faced 78 balls and struck four fours and a six while the left-handed Ervine gathered five boundaries in an 89-ball knock.
Masakadza was positive from the outset, with a couple of boundaries off Roach and pacer Shannon Gabriel early in the day, and greeted the introduction of Bishoo with a heave over the ropes at long-on.
But with lunch beckoning, he feathered a defensive push at Bishoo through to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich to depart at 91 for two.
West Indies then made a key strike 14 balls later when new batsman Brendan Taylor (1) bungled a reverse sweep at Bishoo and was taken by Jermaine Blackwood moving around at slip, leaving Zimbabwe stuttering at the interval.
Much depended on Ervine – unbeaten on 27 at lunch – and he managed to survive the first hour afterwards before falling to the first ball following the drinks break, missing a sweep at Bishoo and going lbw.
He was the third wicket to fall in the session with Sean Williams, on two at the break, adding five before being caught at the wicket off Roach and Sikandar Raza (6) holing out to deep mid-off off Bishoo.
Tottering on 133 for six, there was no way back for the hosts as they lost their last four wickets for 20 runs in quick time.
Malcolm Waller was bowled for 11 after missing a defensive prod at Holder and losing his middle stump, and wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva (12) gave Bishoo his fifth wicket when he got into a tangle, attempting to pull out of a cut, and offered a simple catch to Roston Chase at point.
Captain Graeme Cremer played on to Holder without scoring and Gabriel disposed of last man Chris Mpofu for 10, to end the innings at tea.
Left with a session to navigate, the Windies’ only setback came when Powell missed one from Cremer and lost his off-stump at 25 for one, after striking a four and a six off 34 balls.
Hope survived a chance to short leg off Cremer before he had scored but then got off the mark with a rasping drive through mid-on off in the bowler’s next over, en route to his highest Test score in eight innings.