HOSTS Zimbabwe and West Indies drew in their first cricket Test match after an exciting contest which ended at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo yesterday.
With the first two days having been affected by rain, neither team could force a result despite their efforts.
However, there was an almighty scare for Zimbabwe who had to hang on in the end after losing six wickets.
When the captains decided to shake hands, Zimbabwe were on 134 for 6 after losing Tanunurwa Makoni (9) and Innocent Kaia (24), Chamu Chibhabha (31), Craig Ervine (17) , Gary Ballance (18) and Brad Evans (0).
Takudzwa Tsiga played a key role to negotiate West Indies’ spin trickery, particularly Gudakesh Motie who retained figures of 4 for 50 in the second innings.
Roston Chase took two wickets at the expense of just 9 runs from 12 overs.
But for Zimbabwe it was not about scoring runs, I was just to play the time out.
Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine admitted that the last hour was nerve-racking for his camp with West Indies threatening to snatch victory.
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“In the last hour, yeah it felt like forever. I thought there was a lot of fight in the boys over the whole five days,” he said. “The first two days were of course tough, not picking up any wicket, but we fought back well and then that good partnership between Ballance and Mavuta. They were excellent. Have told the guys to go out and express themselves and they have done that very well.”
West Indies skipper Kraigg Braithwaite commended Zimbabwe for their batting.
“After losing a whole day, I think it was a commendable effort from us to get close to a victory, so well done to us,” Braithwaite said. “But also, Zimbabwe batted very well, so well done to Craig and his team. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it was commendable from the boys with Zimbabwe coming hard with the ball and bat. Wickets with the new ball were crucial, but Zimbabwe batted well. Overall I am pleased with the team effort.”
As Zimbabwe dug in, Tsiga faced 83 balls for his 24 runs while Welly Masakadza, who was his company when captains agreed to shake hands, did not score a single run having faced 36 balls.
Zimbabwe’s efforts were in response to West Indies who had declared their second innings in the second session on 203 for 5 and with a lead of 271.
Raymon Reifer scored 58 runs, while Jermaine Blackwood notched 57 before both were removed by Welly Masakadza, who finished with the figures of 3 for 71.
With West Indies having resumed on 21 without loss and with a lead of 89 runs, Zimbabwe were given a glimmer of hope after taking two quick wickets.
But West Indies knuckled down to build a lead out of Zimbabwe's reach.
Zimbabwe needed to chase down their target in 54 overs, while West Indies were looking at taking 10 wickets in a session and half, which proved a big ask for both teams.
This was after West Indies batted first having won the toss, with their accumulation encountering rain setbacks along the way for them to put up 447 for 6 declared.
Tangerine Chanderpaul scored a double century, while Braithwaite made a century and half.
For Zimbabwe, Brendon Mavuta managed his maiden five wicket haul before he also scored his first Test half century.
He was involved in a 135 run collaboration with Ballance who celebrated his first Test century for Zimbabwe to help the hosts declare 68 runs shy of their guests' first innings total.
Zimbabwe: Innocent Kaia, Tanunurwa Makoni, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Gary Ballance, Takudzwa Tsiga, Brad Evans, Welly Masakadza, Victor Nyauchi, Richard Ngarava
West Indies: Kraigg Braithwaite, Tangerine Chanderpaul, Kyle Mayers, Raymon Reifer, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Alizarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Kemar Roachs
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