Innings Zimbabwe 326 (Masakadza 147, Raza 80, Roach 3-44) v West Indies
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Hamilton Masakadza and Sikandar Raza extended Zimbabwe’s total to 326 but West Indies struck regularly on the second day at Queens Sports Club to keep the match finely balanced. Masakadza, on 101 not out overnight, fell for 147 but Raza picked up the baton with a fighting 80 to keep Zimbabwe afloat.
Masakadza and Raza had threatened to take the game away from West Indies with a stand that stretched to 90 runs, but with Masakadza’s dismissal, the visitors forced their way back into the game and Raza’s was the only other contribution of substance for Zimbabwe. West Indies’ spinners slowed the game down and struck repeatedly with the old ball to peg Zimbabwe back, and after lunch the quicks used the new ball to deal with the tail, the wickets being shared around.
Despite the bleak weather this morning, the picture looked rather rosy for Zimbabwe when Masakadza and Raza were batting. Masakadza cracked the very first ball of the day, from Kemar Roach, through the covers for four and though there were half chances, the luck was with Zimbabwe. Jason Holder found the inside edge of Masakadza’s bat in the 12th over of the morning, but the ball ricocheted past the stumps, and a bat-pad chance against Raza off Chase fell just in front of short leg.
After the early jitters, Zimbabwe progressed with steady accumulation and the drip-drip of runs threatened to become a flood just before drinks, Masakadza collecting four fours in the space of seven deliveries. The batting pair gave the impression that they were forcing the pace ahead of the expected arrival of the new ball, but it never arrived and once West Indies’ slow men took over, scoring became harder and harder against the softening Kookaburra.
Holder’s decision not to take the new ball soon paid dividends. Masakadza was the first to go, top-edging a slog sweep off Bishoo to depart for 147. With his dismissal, the lessons Zimbabwe’s batsmen seemed to have learned after the first Test evaporated and the lower middle order folded meekly. Malcolm Waller went for a golden duck, flashing a drive over the top of an extravagantly flighted ball from Brathwaite, and Regis Chakabva never settled, missing a sweep at a Bishoo legbreak to be bowled for 10.
Only Raza stood firm, going to fifty with a swatted pull for six over midwicket off Bishoo. Picking the right balls to hit and using his feet effectively, he wore the responsibility on his shoulders well and carried Zimbabwe past 300 with a flowing drive through cover point. West Indies took the new ball after lunch, and with it Gabriel had a driving Raza caught at second slip – the first catch to be taken by the slips off a pace bowler for either team this entire series.
With debutant Tendai Chisoro swinging gamely at anything pitched up and Graeme Cremer showing some stickability at the other end, Zimbabwe might still have threatened 350, but an overly adventurous run saw Cremer run out for 11 and in the very next over Roach undid Chisoro with a superb slower ball.
The clouds that had engulfed Bulawayo parted at lunch, and West Indies’ openers will begin the visitors’ riposte to Zimbabwe’s 326 under bright blue skies this afternoon.