Chevrons seek first ever Test win against Windies

Gary Ballance celebrates his first Test ton for Zimbabwe against West Indies last week

ENCOURAGED by their brave fightback to salvage a draw in last week’s opening Test, Zimbabwe will be hoping to maintain the positive momentum as they seek their first ever Test win against the West Indies when the two sides meet in the second encounter, which begins this morning at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

After getting off to a slow start with the ball, Zimbabwe looked on course for a heavy defeat after they failed to take wickets in the first two days before fighting back on the third day when West Indies declared on 447 for six.

Led by a brilliant century by former England player Gary Ballance and Brandon Mavuta’s fighting half century, Zimbabwe fought back to declare on 379 for four on day four in an effort to force a result in the match.

Despite some anxious moments on the final day after a winning target of 272 with 49 overs left in the match, Zimbabwe bravely fought for a hard-earned draw which should give them some confidence heading into the second and final Test.

While the West Indies will be seeking a win to maintain their dominance over the Chevrons in Test cricket, for Zimbabwe, it will be an opportunity to register what would be their first win against the Caribbean side in red-ball cricket.

The Caribbean side has dominated the fixture between the two sides winning seven times, while the other four matches have ended in draws since their first Test meeting at the Port of Spain in March 2000.

The first encounter was, in fact, the only time the Chevrons came close to winning against the Caribbean team after they came short by just 35 runs.

Now 23 years since the first Test meeting between the two teams, Zimbabwe will be hoping to finally end their long wait, although it will be a difficult task without several senior players such as Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Blessing Muzarabani and Ryan Burl, who are unavailable for various reasons.

Zimbabwe assistant coach Stuart Matsikenyeri revealed after the opening match that they will head into the second match seeking a victory.

“Our attitude as the Zimbabwe national cricket team is to come out and win games and that was the same mentality for this Test match. It is about exploring how we can stay in and get a positive result which is winning the match,” he said.

“The series is alive we have got another Test match coming up. We have to explore ways to try and win the second one. (Tanunurwa) Makoni and Innocent (Kaia) gave us a good start we want then to carry on we are pleased with what they did.

“Gary Ballance was fantastic in this Test. The seamers had a tough time on that deck, they put in a good shift. We are proud with what the players did in this match.”

Zimbabwe are likely to make changes to their playing 11 which featured in the first match, with veteran seamer Donald Tiripano likely to replace Brad Evans who made his debut last week.

Offspinner Wellington Masakadza is expected to retain his place after his heroic defensive efforts with the bat and timely breakthroughs with the ball in the final two days.

However the selectors could be tempted to recall Milton Shumba in an effort to strengthen their batting department.

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