“I worked really hard enough” – Gudakesh Motie after breaking 73-year-old record in his third Test match and takes third-place in West Indies all-time list

Gudakesh Motie ended with match figures of 13-99, the best ever for a West Indies spinner in Tests, as the West Indies defeated Zimbabwe by an innings and four runs on day three of the second Test at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo to complete a 1-0 series win.

The West Indies had taken control on the first day, when Motie (7-37) bowled out Zimbabwe for 115, their second-lowest score against the West Indies on home soil. Their previous lowest was when they were bowled out for 104 in 2003/04.

At 40.5 overs, it was the shortest Test innings for Zimbabwe against the West Indies, home or away. They lasted five balls fewer than the 41.4 overs at Bridgetown in 2012/13.

Motie finished with 7-37, the sixth-best figures by a West Indian spinner. Interestingly, while three of the top five are from 1970/71 or before, the other two – Devendra Bishoo’s 8-49 in 2016/17 and Roston Chase’s 8-60 in 2018/19 – came in the last six years.

This was also the first time a West Indian bowler – spinner or otherwise – took a seven-wicket haul against Zimbabwe. Motie improved on Shane Shillingford’s record of 6-49 from the aforementioned 2012/13 Test match.

The West Indies rode on fifties from Raymon Reifer (53) and Chase (70) to respond with 292 as Victor Nyauchi (5-56) took his maiden five-wicket haul.

Zimbabwe reached 56-2 in response before collapsing to Motie for a second time, for 173. The only resistance came from Innocent Kaia (43) and Craig Ervine (72).

When he took his third wicket, of Tafadzwa Tsiga, Motie became the second West Indian (after Shillingford, who had claimed 10-93) to take a 10-wicket haul against Zimbabwe. He then got Wellington Masakadza to become the first to take 11 wickets in a Test match.

The next wicket, of Ervine, made Motie the first West Indian spinner (and fifth West Indian bowler) to take 12 wickets in a Test. The previous record for best match figures by a spinner was Sonny Ramadhin’s 11-152 against England at Lord’s in the historic 1950 series.

The last wicket, of Nyauchi, took Motie past Andy Roberts’ 12-121 (against India, Madras 1974/75) and Shannon Gabriel’s 13-121 (against Sri Lanka, Gros Islet 2018).

However, Motie’s match figures were the third best all time and best by a spinner in the 95-year history of West Indies cricket.

The best all-time is 14-149 by Michael Holding against England in 1976. The previous best by a spinner was 11-152 by Sonny Ramadhin against England back in 1950.

Motie finished the series with 19 wickets, the joint-most by a West Indian in a two-match Test series. Shillingford had also taken 19 wickets against Zimbabwe during the 2012/13 series at home.

Motie was elated with his performance in just his third Test appearance and the team’s overall success. “I was very happy about it. I worked really hard enough … had a lot of practice and back in my country, the wickets are similar, and I reaped the rewards here.”

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said the success in Zimbabwe was crucial for momentum when his team crosses over into South Africa for a multiple format tour, beginning with two Tests starting on 28 February at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

“It’s a good feeling, I think winning any game is always a habit, winning is a habit,” Brathwaite said. “So, this is very important. It will be a tougher South Africa team, and we will see when we get there. … The more test cricket you play, the better. It’s good to have these two back-to-back series, we don’t take it lightly.”

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