After a match of records, double centuries and general heroics it all came to a draw as Day 5 came to a close in the two-match Test series opener at the Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo.
Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite and his rookie opening partner Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of legendary West Indies batter Shivnarine, smashed daddy hundreds in the first innings of the rain-hit Test and were on a record-breaking spree.
Brathwaite, who smashed 182 runs and Chanderpaul, who converted his maiden Test ton into a double hundred not only broke the record for the highest opening stand for West Indies but also achieved a unique and rare feat during their marathon stand.
Interim West Indies coach Andre Coley said the West Indies made a promising start to their two-Test series Zimbabwe that concluded in a draw Wednesday.
“It is a good, encouraging start to the series. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete a win but it was good to be up close and personal with the players as we went through the process over the five days and watch the change in momentum from the start to the end of the game,” Coley told CWI media, “So it was a really good experience being around the dressing room and just approaching the Test match.”
Coley said the foundation for the team was set by the opening partnership between Tagenarine Chanderpaul and captain Kraigg Brathwaite in the first innings.
“We were able to push on from having set that foundation because obviously, we would have lost some time in the game, so we were really trying to push on to get a score that was challenging so we could declare, depending on how much time was left in the game,“ Coley said. “Then obviously in the second innings, we had a lead and we had a period where we had to actually consolidate and bat through to then be able to come out on the other side, to help set up the game for a potential push at the end.”
On spinner Gudakesh Motie’s performance in the game, Coley said:
“All bowlers want to have some numbers in the wicket column. What was good for him is he not only created opportunities but took wickets in both innings and anyone who would have followed Motie’s first-class career, knows that he is quite comfortable bowling a considerable number of overs in his innings. Under pressure, he was able to create. So it was good that he was able to express himself and obviously he integrated into the group nicely.”
Coley sounded words of optimism for the second and final Test.
“If we could look to bring what we did well here in the game into the second Test and even be more consistent and to be able to put ourselves in a position to win the match, that’s what we are looking to do.”