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Super Shane

shillingford’s nine-wicket haul gives windies easy win

West Indies completed a three-day, nine-wicket African feast just after lunch on the third-day of the first Test against a woefully outmatched Zimbabwe at Kensington Oval today.

Off-spinner Shane Shillingford was the main architect of the demolition, destroying the inept Zimbabwe batting line-up with a six-wicket haul to add to his three scalps in the first innings and finished with match-figures of nine for 107 and the Man-of-the-Match award.

Picking up from where he left off the previous evening when he took two wickets in two overs, the tall off-spinner added four more victims today as Zimbabwe were routed for 107.

Left with the academic task of scoring 12 runs for victory, debutant seamer Tendai Chatara claimed the wicket of Kieran Powell (6) to a catch at gully, delaying the formality of victory until after the break when Chris Gayle hit the winning runs.

Following 2-0 series triumphs at home to New Zealand last July/August and in Bangladesh last November, the result gave the West Indies five consecutive Test wins for the first time since the all-powerful squad led by Vivian Richards completed the feat in 1988.Though this West Indies unit bares absolutely no resemblance to the 1988 version, and Zimbabwe are a far cry from Australia and England, captain Darren Sammy and his men will still cherish the victories.

They will now be heavily favoured to make it six in a row at the expense of a Zimbabwean side palpably short of international exposure at this level.

Shillingford wasted no time at the start of the day, having struggling captain Brendan Taylor caught at short-leg by Powell for six in the first over.

Kemar Roach knocked out the middle stump of the other overnight batsman, Ray Price, in the next over to reduce Zimbabwe to 47 for five.

When Malcolm Waller fell to another close-in catch by Powell, his fifth of the match, off Shillingford, it appeared that the West Indies would have completed an innings victory with the score at 58 for six.

At that stage, Zimbabwe were still 38 away from making West Indies bat again.

However an unbeaten 23 from Craig Ervine at least ensured that indignity was avoided, and while Shillingford accounted for Regis Chakabva and Graeme Cremer among the lower order, it was left to express bowler Shannon Gabriel to polish off the innings with the wickets of Kyle Jarvis and Chatara in the space of three deliveries.

After the match Taylor stated his disappointment in their first day batting perfomance in particular.

“It was a tough Test. We let ourselves down on the first day, only getting 200 was disappointing. If we had got 300 it could have been a different game. Not a lot of positives apart from Kyle Jarvis. Mawoyo did bat well but there were a few of us who got starts but didn’t carry on.

“We’ve got to find a way to combat the spin and their three-pronged pace attack. It would have been nice to have had another seamer, but one of our strike bowlers, Cremer, wasn’t at his best. But he’ll come back. Considering Jarvis struggled in the One-Dayers, I am very pleased for him, it is nice to see him swinging the ball again. We hear it spins a bit more in Dominica, it’ll be challenging,” he said.

The significance of the victory and the current winning streak was not lost on Sammy. He also praised the efforts of several of his team-mates and spoke on the work he had been doing with his batting.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do, win our fifth Test in a row, everybody played their part really well. The batting coach Radford and I have been doing a lot of work, changed my grip a little bit. Ramdin batted well on his birthday, Marlon as well, we looked at the pitch and said anything above a 100 runs as lead would do.

“. . . I am an attacking batsman by nature, I got a few loose balls and I put them away. Yesterday, it wasn’t about survival, but sometimes I might have to restrain myself. Shillingford has been continuing the form he had in the first-class season, Powell took five bat-pad catches. We have a chance to make it six in a row, something that hasn’t happened for over 20 years,” Sammy said.

Shillingford was pleased with his comeback performance.†”I played a couple of matches in the first-class season here, and I got wickets here, so I gave it my all. It’s always good to come back and play for West Indies. I tried to bowl a consistent line first up and then tried to spin as much as possible and try to bowl in good areas. I trust in God, and we’ll see what happens in Dominica.”††

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