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
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
“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
“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.”