Zimbabwe utilise cloudy conditions, take two before lunch

Lunch West Indies 65 for 2 (Powell 25*, S Hope 19*) v Zimbabwe
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kieran Powell plays a cut © AFP

A spirited Zimbabwean bowling effort kept West Indies’ batsmen in check on the opening morning of the first Test at Queens Sports Club. Kyle Jarvis, returning to national colours after a four-year hiatus, and Solomon Mire, on Test debut, made the incisions for the hosts after after Jason Holder opted to bat at the toss and West Indies went to lunch at 65 for 2.

Jarvis, looking every inch the county pro with his trendy haircut and full-sleeve tattoo, took the new ball from the City End and soon found a metronomic rhythm. Keeping the ball on or around off stump in overcast, cool conditions more reminiscent of Old Trafford than Queens Sports Club, Jarvis generally erred on the full side in the pursuit of swing early on. Kieran Powell eased him languidly through the covers and down the ground, but Kraigg Brathwaite found no such profit and gave Jarvis a comeback wicket when he couldn’t quite get behind the line of one that left him off the pitch, feathering an edge to wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva for a 22-ball three.

Jarvis had exemplary support from Chris Mpofu throughout the first hour. Mpofu, playing at his home ground, had figures of 6-3-5-0 in his opening spell and was also the swiftest seamer of the session with his speeds topping out at around 138kph. He almost had a wicket when Powell shouldered arms to one that dipped in to brush his front pad. Zimbabwe were convinced he was out but umpire Paul Reiffel wasn’t quite so sure, and he was proved right when the reviewed decision showed the ball missing off stump.

Zimbabwe’s second review of the morning brought greater success for the hosts, and a wicket on debut for Solomon Mire. Brought on in the 12th over to allow Mpofu to change ends, Mire induced a chipped drive that fell just short of mid on almost straight away, but the bowler was generally too short as both Powell and Kyle Hope repeatedly stayed back to pull the ball. Straight after drinks, he pitched one up and found the edge of Kyle Hope’s bat, but the ball flew right between Chakabva and Hamilton Masakadza at first slip. But Mire stuck with the plan, and enthusiastically suggested a review when Kyle Hope prodded tentatively at another full ball outside off. UltraEdge showed a thin edge, and West Indies were wobbling at 35 for 2.

That wicket replaced one Hope with another, and Shai Hope – heir apparent to West Indian batting aristocracy – displayed tempered accumulation, striking two boundaries in his 19 to take his team to lunch without further loss.

Neither of the two rounds of the Logan Cup – Zimbabwe’s domestic first-class competition – so far were played here at Queens and so there was noticeable freshness in the pitch this morning and it was perhaps a little harder than had been expected. But, the outfield remains rather slow after soaking up plenty of rain overnight, and there are also signs that it could offer significant help for the slow bowlers, with both Graeme Cremer and Sikandar Raza finding turn and bounce in short spells before lunch.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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