Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe 19-0 (Mire 17*, Masakadza) trail West Indies (Hope 90*, Powell 56, Cremer 4-64, Williams 3-20) by 200 runs
A SPARKLING bowling display by Zimbabwean captain, leg spinner Graeme Cremer as well left arm slow bowler Sean Williams saw the home team make light work of the West Indies batting line up on the opening day of the first cricket Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo yesterday.
On a marvelous day for Zimbabwe, Cremer found some turn on the first day to finish with four wickets for 64 in 23.5 overs, while Williams also got assistance from the pitch to pick up three for 20 in 13. Shai Hope, coming in to bat at number four, was unbeaten on 90 off 201 deliveries as West Indies, who won the toss, opted to bat were bowled out for 219 in 82.5 overs in their first innings.
At the close of play last night, Zimbabwe had made a brisk 19 for no loss in five overs in their first innings, which saw them trail West Indies by 200 runs with 10 wickets in hand.
It was a superb day on the field for Zimbabwe which saw Craig Ervine collect four catches at short leg with West Indies surrendering their last seven wickets for 45 runs. Wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva was also superb behind the stumps with two catches and a stumping.
Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis made their international return for Zimbabwe with all rounder Solomon Mire making his Test debut.
Jarvis got the breakthrough in the ninth over, Kraigg Brathwaite gone with the batsman trying to defend the ball on the back foot but only succeeded in getting an edge to Chakabva to depart for three runs from 22 deliveries.
Mire picked up his maiden Test wicket, Kyle Hope taken behind Chakabva for 16 off 23. Umpire Paul Reiffel of Australia had initially turned down Zimbabwe’s appeal but the home team referred it with the ultra edge showing that the ball touched the bat on its way to Chakabva.
Kieran Powell went for 56, Cremer getting him caught by Ervine. Cremer again asked for a review after Reiffel had given the batsman not out.
Roston Chase and Shai Hope put on 64 for the third wicket, a partnership broken when the latter got an inside edge off Sikandar Raza’s bowling which flew into the hands of Craig Ervine. Chase went for 31 from 64 balls with three fours.
Cremer picked up his second wicket, Jermaine Blackwood stumped by Chakabva for one, with the visitors five down for 179.
Williams took the sixth wicket, Shane Dowrich brilliantly caught by Masakadza for 11. The left arm spinner had his second wicket, West Indies skipper Jason Holder leg before wicket for eight, the tourists seven down for 212. Holder went upstairs but he was still confirmed out. Devendra Bishoo departed for a five ball duck, Ervine with an astonishing catch at short leg off Williams’ bowling.
Kemar Roach only spent three minutes at the crease prior to falling to Cremer, out for a three ball duck. It was all over for the West Indies in the very next ball, Shannon Gabriel gone for a first ball duck, Cremer needing Ervine’s assistance once again to effect th dismissal.
Mire did not hold back when asked to open the batting with Masakadza in his maiden Test innings as he struck two fours and one six for an unbeaten 17 off 18 deliveries.
The match goes into its second day this morning with Zimbabwe looking to close in on the West Indies’ first innings score and try to get themselves in the lead. -@Mdawini_29