Shane Shillingford grabbed two late wickets to follow a whirlwind half-century from Darren Sammy to keep West Indies in charge of the first Test against Zimbabwe on Wednesday here. Shillingford took 2-9 from two overs, as Zimbabwe, trailing by 96 on first innings, reached 41 for three in their second innings at the close on the second day at Kensington Oval.
Earlier in the day, West Indies skipper Sammy hit a stroke-filled, top score of 73 to boost West Indies and propel them to 307, replying to Zimbabwe’s first innings total of 211. Sammy and keeper Denesh Ramdin batted the West Indies out of problems and into a position of strength as they added a crucial century stand on the second day of the first Test against Zimbabwe.
The pair put on a record 106 for the seventh wicket after the West Indies looked in trouble at 151-6, with the dismissals of Marlon Samuels (51) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (26) in the space of seven runs.
Sammy launched a brutal assault on the Zimbabwe bowlers, scoring 73 off 69 balls including four sixes and eight fours at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday. Ramdin celebrated his 28th birthday with a well-compiled 62 off 130 balls with eight boundaries in over three hours of batting.
It helped the home side to 307 all out in reply to 211 made by the visitors on the opening day. They will resume on 41-3 on Thursday – still 55 runs away from making the West Indies bat again. Off-spinner Shane Shillingford has so far taken two wickets in two overs while pacer Shannon Gabriel bowled with great pace and took the other.
Speaking about his approach during the day, the captain said his game-plan was to attack the Zimbabwe bowlers and reverse the pressure.
“I backed myself and I played my natural game. I play to my strengths. That partnership with Ramdin and myself really put us in a good position and set up the game nicely. I always look to do my best and deliver what the team requires,” Sammy added.
“Today for me it wasn’t about survival as I always back myself to play the proper shot. They gave me some loose balls and I put them away. That’s cricket – you respect the good balls and when you get the bad balls you put them away. It was a matter of [proper] execution. It was good to see that Denesh at Number 6 and myself scheduled to be at Number 7 were able to put on over 100 runs and put the team on the right track after we were five wickets down.”
Zimbabwe 1st Innings 211 all out
Tino Mawoyo 50 Marlon Samuels 4-13
Craig Ervine 29 Shane Shillingford 3-58
West Indies 1st Innings 307 all out
D Sammy 73 Kyle Jarvis 5-54
D Ramdin 62 Hamilton Masakadza 2-25
Zimbabwe 2nd Innings 41-3
Shane Shillingford 2-9