WI vs ZIM, 1st Test Match Report – Player of the match awarded Tagenarine Chanderpaul but debutant Tafadzwa Tsiga helps Zimbabwe to salvage draw

The opening Test between Zimbabwe and West Indies came to life in the final session of the final day, with the visitors picking up wickets at regular intervals.

However, Gary Ballance and Tafadzwa Tsiga stitched a stubborn stand of 36, and more importantly, batted for 19 overs as the home side salvaged a draw. At stumps, Zimbabwe were 134 for 6, in pursuit of 272.

Gudakesh Motie put in a career-best performance to keep West Indies in the hunt for an unlikely win late on the fifth day, but the visitors just ran out of time as the opening Test against Zimbabwe ended in a draw.

After West Indies set Zimbabwe a target of 272 in about a session-and-a-half, Motie picked up 4 for 50 in 24 overs, leaving the hosts in all sorts of trouble, but the debutant wicketkeeper Tafadzwa Tsiga made an unbeaten 24 off 83 balls to bail his side out.

After a brief spell of rain, play resumed in the final session with Innocent Kaia and Tanunurwa Makoni at the crease. Makoni looked to take the aggressive route by glancing and cutting Kemar Roach.

However, he soon fell to West Indies’ best bowler of the day, Gudakesh Motie, edging a nicely tossed-up delivery to the ‘keeper.

Kaia and Chamu Chibhaabha then joined forces to share an alliance of 47 for the second wicket.

Kaia brought out the pull and also looked to occasionally chip down the track to spinners while Chibhabha played a couple of fluent drives, although he was troubled by the paceman Alzarri Joseph.

Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, against the run of play, Kaia was dismissed on the back of a soft dismissal while facing Motie. Craig Ervine, who replaced Kaia, played with positive intent, crunching boundaries off Motie and Kraigg Brathwaite.

With the score reading 83 for 2, Zimbabwe then lost the wicket of Chibhaba. And that was followed by Ervine edging one off Motie to Joshua da Silva, with the ‘keeper grabbing a sharp catch by moving to his right.

Ballance and Tsiga then stonewalled the West Indies. Ballance, the first-innings centurion, looked to use the crease and playback to the

spinners and showed measured judgment against the seamers. Tsiga too showed the required temperament and technique, alongside collecting a couple of boundaries off Joseph.

By the end of the 42nd over, the pair seemed to have taken Zimbabwe to safer waters but Ballance was caught down leg off Chase while Brad Evans fell to Motie.

Wellington Masakadza and Tsiga, though, played out the remaining 10.2 overs to take the hosts to a draw. On a side note, as the West Indies bowled the remaining 49 overs in the day within the stipulated time, they got the chance to bowl five more in the day – a rare sight in modern times.

Earlier, the West Indies, who resumed on 21 for no loss, had started on a cautious note, adding just 11 runs in the first nine overs.

Eventually, Evans forced the first innings double-centurion Chanderpaul to inside edge one onto the stumps. At the other end, Brathwaite pulled and cut Masakadza to the boundary boards.

However, in the 27th over, Masakadza had the last laugh when he trapped Brathwaite in front.

The duo of Blackwood and Reifer then shared a key stand of 107 to help the visitors increase the lead.

After the Lunch break, Masakadza accounted for the wickets of both Reifer and Blackwood while Chase became Evans’ victim. Eventually, the West Indies declared their innings at 203 for 5.

Player of the Match, Tagenarine Chanderpaul spoke at the post-match presentation.

Brief Scores: West Indies 447/6 decl. (Chanderpaul 207*, Brathwaite 182; Mavuta 5-140) and 131/2 (Raymon Reifer 45*; Brad Evans 1-17) drew with Zimbabwe 379/9 decl. (Ballance 137*; Alzarri Joseph 3-75) and 134/6 (Tafadzwa Tsiga 24*; Gudakesh Motie 4-50)

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