West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick credited an “outstanding” bowling attack for setting up West Indies’ first-innings lead over Zimbabwe in the first Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Estwick, who has worked with the team’s bowlers for the last 18 months, gave special mention to legspinner Devendra Bishoo, who had a quiet tour of England but came to the fore with 5 for 79 against Zimbabwe.
“Over the last year the bowling department has been functioning well, so I’m not surprised that we were able to bowl them out under our score,” Estwick said. “The bowling unit has been outstanding all year, and once Bishoo came to the party. I wasn’t surprised we restricted them to this score.”
Bishoo, who took just three wickets across two Tests in England, picked up the fourth five-wicket haul of his career and ran through Zimbabwe’s top order with a combination of spin, bounce and accuracy in helpful conditions on the second day.
“He didn’t have the best tour of England,” Estwick conceded. “It’s a difficult place to bowl. But if you look [at the last year], he got 30 wickets in that period so he’s been quite successful. He got eight wickets in Dubai on a flat track as well, so he does his job. The bowling unit has been outstanding; you can’t fault them. They’ve been able to stay on the park and stay fresh. It’s been a long year but we keep going and we keep getting teams out.”
Estwick suggested that West Indies had taken their cue from Zimbabwe’s first-day bowling effort, when the patience and consistency of the seamers set up the spinners’ demolition. “Obviously we learnt from the way that Zimbabwe bowled in their first innings where they were patient and soaked up pressure,” he said. “We tried to do the same thing, block it with our seamers and try to get wickets from the other end.”
West Indies’ lead stood at 148, with nine wickets standing, at the close of play, but in what has been a fast-moving, see-sawing Test match so far Estwick also warned against any complacency. “[The pitch] is going to get a bit more difficult because it’s going to lose pace, and that means strokemaking is going to get difficult. Zimbabwe lost 7 for 53  after lunch, so the game can change very quickly on a pitch like this. We’ve got to try and take the game as long as possible. Bat until lunchtime and then assess from there. You can’t get ahead of yourself on this pitch. There’s a lot of cricket left.”