Zimbabwe salvage draw against rampaging Windies spinners
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (CMC):
SPINNER GUDAKESH Motie and Roston Chase tried to force a dramatic finish, but West Indies met resistance from the bottom half of the Zimbabwe batting and had to settle for a draw in the first Test yesterday.
Motie bagged a career-best 4-50 from 24 overs, and Chase snared a miserly 2-9 from 12 overs to send a few jitters through the Zimbabwean dressing room after the Windies set them 272 to win in a minimum of 49 overs on the final day of the contest at the Queen’s Sports Club.
The Caribbean side were, however, frustrated in their attempt to grab an unlikely win when debutant wicketkeeper Tafadzwa Tsiga, not out on 24, remained unflappable for two hours, and the hosts reached 134 for six when time expired.
The result meant that the two-match series remained level at 0-0 and created huge expectations for the second Test, starting on Sunday at the same venue.
“After losing a whole day, I think it was a commendable effort from us to get close to a victory, so well done to us,” West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said after play.
“But also, Zimbabwe batted very well. I think overall, I’m pleased with the team effort.”
Motie gave West Indies an early breakthrough when he had opener Tanunurwa Makoni caught behind for nine, but Innocent Kaia and Chamu Chibhabha added 47 for the second wicket to ease the early tension.
But Motie engineered a period of instability when he got Kaia caught at mid-wicket for 24 and Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine caught behind for 17, and Chase got Chibhabha caught at slip for the top score of 31 in between, as Zimbabwe sank from the comfort of 83 for two to 83 for four.
West Indies again found first-innings century-maker Gary Ballance an immovable force, and he spent over an hour at the crease to take the Zimbabweans past 100 before Chase had him caught behind for 18, and Motie followed up with the scalp of Brad Evans lbw for a duck next over.
With almost 40 minutes of play remaining, there was still a chance for West Indies to cut a path to victory, but Tsiga and Wellington Masakadza batted through the remaining time to save the day for the home team.
Earlier, West Indies continued from 21 without loss overnight and tried to score quickly to hasten a declaration, which came on 203 for five after lunch, with Raymon Reifer leading the way with 58 and Jermaine Blackwood supporting with 57.