BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich struck a maiden Test hundred and captain Jason Holder his second, before seamer Kemar Roach produced a lethal new-ball burst to leave Zimbabwe staring down the barrel in the second Test here Wednesday.
At the close of an intriguing fourth day at Queens Sports Club, the hosts had recovered to reach 140 for four in their second innings – a lead of 18 runs – and a marked turnaround after they languished at 46 for four at one stage during the second session.
Behind by 122 runs on first innings after West Indies converted their overnight 374 for seven into 448 all out, Zimbabwe were blown away by Roach’s first spell to stumble to lunch on eight for two, before finding themselves in deeper trouble when they lost two further wickets on resumption.
However, Sikandar Raza carved out his second half-century of the match with an unbeaten 58 while Peter Moor stroked 39 not out, as they put on 94 in an invaluable 94-run, fifth wicket stand.
Raza has faced 157 deliveries and counted four fours and a six while Moor hit two boundaries in a 152-ball knock, and the pair now carry Zimbabwe’s hopes heading into the decisive final day on Thursday.
Roach, who bowled beautifully first up, finished with two for 14.
The Caribbean side’s advantage, however, was achieved through Dowrich and Holder, who both carried their enterprise from Tuesday’s third day into the morning session to reach three figures.
Dowrich, under pressure at the start of the match with a mere 47 runs in his last eight outings, made 103 in an innings lasting 232 deliveries and including 10 fours and a six.
Holder, whose last hundred came in his fourth Test two years ago, fashioned 110 off 198 balls and struck nine fours and two sixes.
Together, they extended their overnight stand to 212 – a new Windies record for the eighth wicket – in the process snuffing the spirit out of the Zimbabwe side.
Holder, starting the day on 71, survived a chance in the sixth over of the morning when he had added just seven when wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva grassed a chance off leg-spinner Graeme Cremer.
He steadied himself, however, to cruise into the 90s before reaching his century in the first over following the drinks break with an elegant drive to the cover ropes off left-arm spinner Tendai Chisoro.
Dowrich followed suit in the next over, raising his landmark in imperious fashion by clearing the ropes at long-off with Cremer.
He perished soon after, lbw missing a sweep at Chisoro and Holder followed in the bowler’s next over, bowled around his legs also missing a sweep, as the last three wickets fell for just six runs.
Left with a short but tricky half-hour period before lunch, Zimbabwe were completely undone by Roach. In the fourth over, he removed the off-stump of opener Hamilton Masakadza for five as the right-hander offered no stroke and in his next over, had Solomon Mire lbw without scoring, after misjudging the length and missing an ill-advised pull.
Much rested on the experienced shoulders of Craig Ervine (22) and Brendan Taylor (3) but neither managed to get among the runs following the resumption.
In fact, Taylor survived 32 balls before departing approaching the hour mark, lbw to a full length delivery from the pacy Shannon Gabriel at 23 for three.
And Ervine stuck three fours in a 57-ball knock but was deceived and bowled by one from leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, as the innings slipped into turmoil.
However, Raza and Moor propped up Zimbabwe’s innings, taking the hosts to tea at 66 for four before keeping West Indies wicket-less in the final session with purposeful batting.
ZIMBABWE 1st innings 326
WEST INDIES 1st innings
(overnight 374 for seven)
K Brathwaite c Masakadza b Cremer 32
K Powell c Ervine b Mpofu 90
D Bishoo c & b Sikandar Raza 23
K Hope lbw b Sikandar Raza 1
S Hope b Sikandar Raza 40
R Chase lbw b Sikandar Raza 32
J Blackwood c Cremer b Sikandar Raza 5
+S Dowrich lbw b Chisoro 103
*J Holder b Chisoro 110
K Roach lbw b Chisoro 0
S Gabriel not out 5
Extras (b3, lb3, nb1) 7
TOTAL (all out, 178.2 overs) 448
Fall of wickets: 1-76 , 2-131, 3-135, 4-163, 5-219, 6-225, 7-230, 8-442, 9-443, 10-448.
Bowling: Mpofu 28-10-55-1, Mire 5-2-5-0, Cremer 52-8-161-1, Raza 48-12-99-5, Chisoro 41.2-9-113-3, Masakadza 4-1-9-0.
ZIMBABWE 2nd innings
H Masakadza b Roach 5
S Mire lbw b Roach 0
C Ervine b Bishoo 22
B Taylor lbw Gabriel 10
P Moor not out 39
S Raza not out 58
Extras (b1, lb5) 6
TOTAL (4 wkts, 67 overs) 140
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-8, 3-23, 4-46.
Bowling: Gabriel 13-6-16-1, Roach 12-7-14-2, Brathwaite 9-1-19-0, Holder 12-2-29-0, Bishoo 13-3-38-1, Chase 2-0-7-0, Blackwood 6-3-11-0.
Position: Zimbabwe lead by 18 runs with six wickets remaining.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena, Simon Fry; TV – Paul Reiffel.