Friday, February 23, 2018

Shillingford spins Windies to big victory

WINNING IS BECOMING a habit for the

West Indies cricket team again, regardless

of the strength of their opponents.

The Darren Sammy-led Windies outfit

romped to their fifth consecutive Test

victory when they ruthlessly rolled over

lightweights Zimbabwe by nine wickets

with two and a half days to spare in the

first Test at Kensington Oval, yesterday.

Following 2-0 series triumphs over

New Zealand and Bangladesh last year, it

was the first time in 25 years a West Indies

team had achieved such an extended winning


Recalled off-spinner Shane Shillingford

was the architect behind the victory

with a career-best haul of six for 49 as the

below-par Zimbabwe crashed to 107 all out

in their second innings, after resuming

from 41 for three overnight.

It left the West Indies, who had taken

a 96-run lead when they made 307 in response

to Zimbabwe’s first innings total

of 211, with a mere 12 runs for victory.

Under the new regulation, lunch was

delayed as the West Indies were afforded

15 minutes to complete the task.

However, the Windies only got nine of

the required runs before the compulsory

break while losing opener Kieran Powell

for six, caught in the gully off rookie pacer

Tendai Chatara.

Chris Gayle (four not out) returned

40 minutes later to hit the winning runs

and formalise a 1-0 lead in the two-match

series with the second Test beginning in

Dominica next Wednesday.

Sammy, who wasn’t required to bowl

in the Zimbabwe second innings, said the

team achieved the goal of a fifth straight

Test victory.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do.

Everybody played their part really well...

We have a chance to make it six in a row,

something that hasn’t happened for over

20 years,” he said after the match.

The last time it was done was in 1988

during a seven-match unbeaten run

against England and Australia.

Already with two wickets in the bag,

Shillingford continued from where he left

off the previous afternoon, getting the

ball to bounce and turn sharply. He snared

four more scalps to finish with match figures

of nine for 107 and carry his overall

tally to 38 in nine Tests.

The tall Dominican struck with the

last ball of the day’s first over when the

advancing Zimbabwe captain Brendan

Taylor (six) pushed an off break to Powell

at short leg.

Kemar Roach extracted the middle

stump of night watchman Ray Price (seven)

in the next over, and a bemused Malcolm

Waller was also snapped up by Powell

at short leg for five to leave Zimbabwe

in dire straits at 58 for six.

But Craig Ervine, who was dropped on

four by Gayle at first slip off Shillingford

and by Darren Bravo on 20 at third slip off

the luckless Tino Best, propped up an end

as wickets fell like ninepins around him.

Left-hander Ervine remained not out

on 23 off 69 balls in 114 minutes, ensuring

Zimbabwe avoided the embarrassment of

an innings defeat.

Wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva was

bowled by Shillingford for six as he played

down the wrong line to a straight delivery,

while Graeme Cremer, after hoisting Shillingford

for a six over long-on in a brief

knock of 14, was undone by a peach of a


Shillingford got one to bounce awkwardly

and Cremer feathered it to wicketkeeper

Denesh Ramdin, who held a good


Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel swiftly

wrapped up the innings, firing out

tailenders Kyle Jarvis and Chatara in

the space of three balls to end with three

wickets for 10 runs in 7.4 overs.

Jarvis, after lofting Shillingford for a

straight six, was softened up by a blow to

the ribs from a fast Gabriel delivery. He

then sparred at a lifting outswinger to be

caught by Ramdin, while Chatara left his

stumps exposed and Gabriel obliged with

a full length delivery.

Losing captain Taylor conceded it was

a tough Test, and said his team’s batting

was disappointing.

“We let ourselves down…there weren’t

a lot of positives apart from Kyle Jarvis,”

he said. “Mawoyo did bat well but there

were a few of us who got starts but didn’t

carry on. We’ve got to find a way to combat

the spin and their three-pronged pace


Man-of-the-Match Shillingford said his

plan as a spinner is a simple one.

“I tried to bowl a consistent line first

up and then try to spin as much as possible

and try to bowl in good areas.”