BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – Head coach Stuart Law has praised West Indies’ determination on Thursday’s final day of the second Test, despite watching the Caribbean side’s quest for a series sweep end in frustration.
The Windies began the day with high hopes of victory but Zimbabwe batted all day at Queens Sports Club to ensure a stalemate and thwart the visitors’ dreams of a 2-0 series result.
However, Law said though the day proved a frustrating one, West Indies never let their heads drop and continued to give a 100 per cent effort.
“I think you saw right at the death there were a few guys diving in the outfield stopping boundaries – you can’t fault our commitment,” said the Australian.
“We were out there trying to win a Test match. I believe there was just one team out there trying to win it and we weren’t quite able to do that.
“As I said, I can’t fault the commitment of our players, can’t fault the preparation, the work from the support staff – everybody has worked really hard to get this one-nil victory and we are going to celebrate a series win.”
West Indies produced a great effort to lead Zimbabwe by 122 runs, after recovering from 230 for seven in their first innings to pile up 448 all out – with captain Jason Holder (110) and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (103) both getting hundreds.
The hosts then fought back from eight for two at lunch on the fourth day and then 46 for four before tea, to end the day on 140 for four, but only 18 runs ahead.
Sikandar Raza, with 89, and wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva, 71 not out, carried the fight for Zimbabwe on the final day as the hosts surrendered just three wickets en route to 301 for seven in their second innings.
Though Zimbabwe lie bottom of the Test rankings and have never beaten West Indies in a Test, Law said they had proven formidable opponents, especially in the second Test.
“Zimbabwe are full of quality cricketers. To come here and beat them in their own patch is a tremendous effort,” he pointed out.
“Our boys in the first Test, we went about our business and won it in four days. This one was a closer contest … our boys we toiled hard. We got into a position of strength and [yesterday] we just weren’t able to get those breakthroughs.
“It’s tough enough taking 20 wickets in a Test match and when a pitch offers you nothing on the last day [it’s even more difficult]. Credit to Zimbabwe they played brilliantly and fought really hard but I’m super proud of Jason (Holder) and the way he’s led this team and the way our boys have played.”
Dowrich entered the series on a poor run of form and his accomplished hundred under pressure managed to ease the speculation over his place in the side, while leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, who struggled on the recent tour of England, finished the series with 13 wickets to be voted Man-of-the-Series.
Law said he was proud of the way both players had rebounded, after going through difficult periods.
“I’m particularly very happy for a number of our players but in particular Devendra Bishoo who was Man-of-the-Series. Coming from England after a tough series to come here and get Man-of-the-Series was a great effort,” he noted.
“I thought Shane Dowrich has been outstanding – his glove-work behind the stumps and that hundred, his first ever, was a great knock to watch. I’m very proud of our boys.”
West Indies won the first Test by 117 runs.