BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – West Indies’ bid for a clean sweep ended in frustration as wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva struck a defiant half-century to earn Zimbabwe a precious draw on the final day of the second Test here Thursday.
Starting the day confident of victory at Queens Sports Club, West Indies managed to take just three Zimbabwe wickets as the hosts produced a gritty performance to end on 301 for seven in their second innings, when the match was abandoned mid-way through the final session.
Chakabva was at the heart of the effort with an unbeaten 71 while Sikandar Raza, unbeaten on 58 overnight, missed out on three figures for the second time in the contest with 89, following his first innings 80.
Peter Moor stroked 42 while Captain Graeme Cremer chipped in with 28 to help frustrate West Indies, especially in the final session.
It was a 91-run, unbroken eighth wicket stand between Chakabva and Cremer which steered the hosts safely through the final session and left the visitors out of options.
West Indies bowler toiled on an unresponsive track and fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel (2-34) and Kemar Roach (2-37), along with leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (2-74) all only managed to take two wickets each.
Resuming the day on 140 for four but more importantly, only 18 runs ahead, Zimbabwe suffered a major setback in the day’s second over when Moor perished after adding just three runs to his overnight 39 – wafting at one from Gabriel and providing Shai Hope with a catch at gully.
Raza, unbeaten on 58 overnight, then combined with Malcolm Waller, who made just 15, to keep West Indies at bay for the remainder of the hour.
Waller batted nearly an hour and escaped with several near misses before falling in the first over following the first drinks break, edging Bishoo to Jermaine Blackwood at slip at 172 for six.
West Indies had the upper hand at this stage with Zimbabwe only 50 runs ahead but Raza and Chakabva then came together in a 38-run, seventh wicket stand which steered Zimbabwe safely through the remainder of the session to be 199 without further loss at the interval.
All told, Raza faced 203 deliveries in exactly five hours and counted six fours and a six while Chakabva stroked five fours in a knock spanning 192 balls and 3-3/4 hours.
Raza, reprieved by DRS after he was adjudged lbw to Roach on 72, seemed set for three figures before his marathon innings ended in the third over after the break when he was bowled by captain and seamer Jason Holder by one that jagged back to claim off-stump.
However, any hopes West Indies had of steamrolling the Zimbabwe lower order then evaporated as Chakabva remained solid, and found an ally in Cremer to deny the visitors any further success.
Dropped on 28 by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off Bishoo, Chakabva rallied to 48 not out at tea with Zimbabwe on 259 for seven, and he raised his fourth Test half-century in the fourth over following the break with a single square on the on-side off Bishoo.
Both he and Cremer, whose innings lasted just over 2-1/2 hours, then wore the West Indies bowlers down, and the introduction of Blackwood and Kieran Powell into the attack was more a sign of resignation, with Zimbabwe ahead by well over 150 runs.
West Indies took the series 1-0 after winning the first Test nine days ago by 117 runs at the same venue.
ZIMBABWE 1st innings 326
WEST INDIES 1st innings 448
ZIMBABWE 2nd innings (overnight 140 for four)
H Masakadza b Roach 5
S Mire lbw b Roach 0
C Ervine b Bishoo 22
B Taylor lbw Gabriel 10
P Moor c S Hope b Gabriel 42
Sikandar Raza b Holder 89
M Waller c Blackwood b Bishoo 15
+R Chakabva not out 71
*A Cremer not out 28
Extras (b10, lb8, nb1) 19
TOTAL (7 wkts, 144 overs) 301
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-8, 3-23, 4-46, 5-144, 6-172, 7-210.
Bowling: Gabriel 21-7-34-2, Roach 22-10-37-2, Brathwaite 17-2-44-0, Holder 22-7-42-1, Bishoo 34-7-74-2, Chase 17-3-31-0, Blackwood 10-4-21-0, Powell 1-1-0-0.
Result: Match drawn.
Series: West Indies won two-match series 1-0.
Man-of-the-Match: Sikandar Raza.
Man-of-the-Series: Devendra Bishoo.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena, Simon Fry; TV – Paul Reiffel.