Openers add century stand before rain end opening day
West Indies v Zimbabwe
Day 1 of 1st Test
Venue: Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Toss: West Indies
Opening pair Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul provided a solid and stable start for West Indies in on the opening day of the first Test against Zimbabwe on Saturday, before rain ended play early.
Captain Brathwaite was not out on 55 and left-hander Chanderpaul, playing his third Test, was not out on the same score, and the Caribbean side were 112 without loss in their first innings with only 51 overs possible before rain stopped play about half-hour before the scheduled tea break on the first day.
“I think the pitch looked good and I didn’t see much moisture in it,” Brathwaite said. “I think it’s important for us to get a big first innings total, and that’s pretty much it. I think the pitch was playing good.”
“With rain around, we have to see how the pitch plays, so starting over [on Sunday] will be crucial. It’s important for me and Tage to go and start fresh [on Sunday] and continue to build the foundation for the team to get a big first innings total.”
The players never got a chance to return to the field with the weather wiping out the entire third and final session of play. They were several occasions when the ground-staff removed the covers and a resumption seemed imminent before umpires Langston Rusere and Paul Reiffel decided to abandon play about half-hour before the scheduled close. Play on Sunday will therefore start at 9:30am (3:30am EasternCaribbean/2:30am Jamaica).
Brathwaite and Chanderpaul hardly placed a foot wrong in giving West Indies a firm foundation after the visitors decided to bat on the easy-paced surface.
They became the 10th West Indies opening pair to feature in two century partnerships in Tests after they forged a new alliance on the tour of Australia before Christmas last year – and it is the third time they have shared 50-plus in five innings.
Brathwaite needed 116 balls to reach his 50 when he drove pacer Victor Nyauchi through mid-off for three in the final over before the refreshments break in the second session of play. Chanderpaul took 165 balls to reach the landmark with a confident pull through mid-wicket off left-arm pacer Richard Ngarava, for the seventh of his eight boundaries in the penultimate over before the rain stoppage.