West Indies 374 for 7 (Dowrich 75*, Holder 71*, Raza 5-82) lead Zimbabwe 326 (Masakadza 147, Raza 80, Moor 52, Roach 3-44, Gabriel 2-64) by 48 runs
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN BULAWAYO
ALLROUNDER Sikander Raza followed up his batting heroics with a maiden five wicket haul, but West Indies still made Zimbabwe’s bowlers toil on their way to a healthy 48-run first innings lead on the third day of the second Test match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo yesterday.
Raza, who became the first Zimbabwean spinner to take five wickets at Queens Sports Club since Ray Price, against the West Indies in 2003, looked to have put the hosts in control of the match after reducing the Windies to 230 for seven after lunch on the third day and well behind their first innings score of 326.
And it could have been worse for the tourists and better for the hosts had it not been for a shocking decision by the umpire Kumar Dharmasena to deny Raza his sixth wicket after trapping Windies skipper Jason Holder lbw.
Sadly Zimbabwe, who were also guilty of dropping crucial catches, had already used up all their reviews and the tourists took advantage as they reached stumps on 374 for seven.
Ironically Holder, who was on 11 when he was given a second life, would go on to score an unbeaten 71, sharing a record breaking 144-run seventh wicket partnership with and wicketkeeper batsman Shane Dowrich, who also finished unbeaten on 75.
However, until the game changing partnership it was Zimbabwe who looked well poised for a first innings lead which could have boosted their chances of levelling the two-match Test series which the Windies lead 1-0.
After finishing the second day on a high with the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite, Zimbabwe were desperate to pile on the pressure on the Windies, who started the day trailing by 248 runs.
And they would have been the more satisfied of the two teams after the first session having claimed three more Windies wickets including the big one of Kieran Powell, who was dismissed by Chris Mpofu just 10 runs shy of what would have been his fourth Test century.
Raza removed night-watchman Devendra Bishoo (23) and Kyle Hope (1) before inflicting a couple of lbw appeals, which Zimbabwe reviewed with no success.
Mpofu completed a successful session when his bouncer proved too good for Powell who seemed all set to claim a hundred.
Wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva’s woes continued as he dropped Kyle Hope after lunch for what would have been Tendai Chisoro, but Raza found immediate success the very next over after trapping Roston Chase lbw attempting a reverse sweep.
Raza, who became only the fifth Zimbabwean to claim a five wicket haul and score a half century in a Test match returned yet again to remove the out of form Blackwood (5) and Shai Hope (40) in consecutive overs to leave the Windies in trouble at 230 for seven.
Sadly despite finishing with impressive bowling figures of five wickets for 82 runs, it was the Windies who completed the day in control of the Test match and the hosts facing an uphill task.
Zimbabwe: Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Regis Chakabva (wk), Graeme Cremer (capt), Tendai Chisoro, Chris Mpofu
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel