BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – Opener Kieran Powell said yesterday West Indies would continue to pile the pressure on Zimbabwe heading into the penultimate day of the final Test, as they pressed for a win and a clean sweep of the two-Test series.
West Indies dominated the third day at Queens Sports Club, amassing 374 for seven in their first innings in reply to the hosts’ 326 all out on Monday.
“We’re only 48 runs ahead but I think it’s good we put lots of miles on their legs. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow, with two set guys in as well, put some miles on their legs, try and stretch the lead as much as possible,” said Powell, who top-scored with 90.
“Any lead is a good lead on this pitch. Tomorrow we don’t know if the pitch will play up-and-down or whatever the case is so we need a big a lead as possible that will help us in trying to push for a result.”
He added: “It’s definitely advantage Windies. We’ve got a 48-run lead so it’s definitely advantage for us. If we can stretch this to a 100, 150 runs lead that will be massive for us trying to push for victory.”
Powell’s knock carried West Indies in the morning session after they resumed from their overnight 78 for one. When he fell just before lunch, Shai Hope with 40 and Roston Chase, 32, combined in a 56-run fifth wicket stand to lift the Windies to 219 for four in the second session.
However, Sikandar Raza, who ended with five for 82, snatched three wickets for 11 runs as West Indies collapsed to 230 for seven but wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (74 not out) and captain Jason Holder (71 not out) combined in an unbroken 144-run, eighth wicket stand to put the Windies in a dominant position. Powell praised the way both players had gone about pulling West Indies out of trouble and establishing an important lead.
“Shane hasn’t been making runs recently but we know what he’s capable of and before he went out to bat I told him ‘just trust your defence’. Once you trust your defence, scoring opportunities will come,” Powell told reporters.
“Obviously he has to play to his own game plan and go about his innings however he sees fit but I thought that he really batted well today. Obviously with yesterday being his birthday and this being his birthday match, this was more incentive for him.”
He continued: “Jason we know plays a counter-attacking role really well and I think that the way they both went about it with both being familiar with batting with each other – both being from Barbados – sort of helped the partnership.”