By BV Swagath
It took just two days and a little over a session for hosts West Indies to demolish Zimbabwe for a 9-wicket win in their opening Test match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Zimbabwe embarrassed themselves by opting to bat first instead of bowling first after winning the toss. The minnows got shot out for 211 in 76.4 overs on the opening day’s play. Opener Tino Mawoyo top scored with 50 (from 95 balls with 7 fours). Marlon Samuels with his fastish off breaks ran through the Zimbabwean batting taking 4 for 13 in just 6.4 overs. Regular off-spinner Shane Shillingford took 3 for 58 in 22 overs. West Indies closed Day 1 on a shaky note at 18 for 2 in 11 overs losing Kieran Powell and night watchman Kemar Roach cheaply.
The second day’s play saw Zimbabwe take the advantage when they reduced West Indies to 81 for 4 but struggled to complete the job. West Indies could post a decent 307 before getting bowled out in 84.2 overs. Marlon Samuels scored 51 (from 74 balls with 9 fours and a six) and Wicket Keeper Denesh Ramdin scored 62 (from 130 balls with 8 fours). It was Skipper Darren Sammy who took the match away from the Zimbabweans with an entertaining knock of 73 from 69 balls with 8 fours and 4 sixes.
West Indies finished with a first innings lead of 96 runs. For Zimbabwe, 24-year-old seamer Kyle Jarvis claimed 5 for 54 in 17.2 overs. Windies by the close of play on Day 2 had Zimbabwe on the backfoot at 41 for 3.
The third day saw the Zimbabweans collapse from 41 for 3 in 14 overs to 107 all out in 41.4 overs! This time the destroyer was Shane Shillingford who took 6 for 49 in 16 overs. Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel took 3 for 10 in 7.4 overs. West Indies needed just 12 to win the match and they lost the wicket of Kieran Powell before knocking off the target in 5 overs.