Lunch Zimbabwe 296 for 7 (Masakadza 147, Raza 68*) v West Indies
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
West Indies’ spinners struck repeatedly with the old ball to peg Zimbabwe back on the second morning in Bulawayo, Devendra Bishoo and Kraigg Brathwaite sharing three wickets to send the hosts to lunch at 296 for 7. Hamilton Masakadza and Sikandar Raza had threatened to take the game away from Zimbabwe with a stand that stretched to 90 runs, but Masakadza’s dismissal for 147 started the hosts’ slide and by lunch Raza was the only top-order batsman still standing, on 68 not out.
Despite the bleak weather, the picture had been much rosier for Zimbabwe for much of the morning. Masakadza cracked the very first ball of the day, from Kemar Roach, through the covers for four and though there were half chances, the luck was with Zimbabwe. Jason Holder found the inside edge of Masakadza’s bat in the 12th over of the morning, but the ball ricocheted past the stumps, and a bat-pad chance against Raza off Chase fell just in front of short leg.
After the early jitters, Zimbabwe progressed with steady accumulation and the drip-drip of runs threatened to become a flood just before drinks, Masakadza collecting four fours in the space of seven deliveries. The batting pair gave the impression that they were forcing the pace ahead of the expected arrival of the new ball, but it never arrived and once West Indies’ slow men took over, scoring became harder and harder against the softening Kookaburra.
Holder’s decision not to take the new ball soon paid dividends. Masakadza was the first to go, top-edging a slog sweep off Bishoo to depart for 147. With his dismissal, the lessons Zimbabwe’s batsmen seemed to have learned after the first Test evaporated and the lower middle order folded meekly. Malcolm Waller went for a golden duck, flashing a drive over the top of an extravagantly flighted ball from Brathwaite and Regis Chakabva never settled, missing a sweep at a Bishoo legbreak to be bowled for 10.
Only Raza stood firm, going to fifty with a swatted pull for six over midwicket off Bishoo. Picking the right balls to hit and using his feet effectively, he wore the responsibility on his shoulders well. At the other end, Graeme Cremer also showed some stickability and when the sun poked through the clouds just before lunch, it brightened up a match that is still finely balanced.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo