Mavuta claims five-for, Kaia hits fifty as Zimbabwe face huge task

West Indies – 447-6 declared in 143 overs (Tagenarine Chanderpaul 207*, Kraigg Brathwaite 182, Kyle Mayers 20; Brandon Mavuta 5/140, Wellington Masakadza 1/85)

Zimbabwe – 114-3 in 41.4 overs (Innocent Kaia 59*, Tanunurwa Makoni 33, Craig Ervine 13; Kraigg Brathwaite 1/5, Gudakesh Motie 1/25, Alzarri Joseph 1/25)


Day 3 – Stumps: Zimbabwe trail by 333 runs

Brandon Mavuta and Innocent Kaia both turned in fighting performances for Zimbabwe in reply to a large West Indies total on the third day of the first Test match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Monday.

Mavuta cut through the tourists’ middle-order batting to take five wickets, while Kaia reached a superb fifty on his Test début and was still at the crease at the close of play.

The weather in Bulawayo had improved at last and a full day’s play was possible.

The West Indies resumed their first innings with a score of 221 for no wicket – Kraigg Brathwaite had 116 and Tagenarine Chanderpaul 101.

With so much time lost on the first two days, it was the obvious policy to chase runs quickly now, and this they did right from the start.

The huge opening partnership between Brathwaite and Chanderpaul eventually reached 336, easily beating the previous record opening partnership against Zimbabwe, 281 by Marvin Atapattu and Sunath Jayasuriya at Harare Sports Club in 2003/04.

It was also a new record in Test cricket for the West Indies.

It eventually ended when Brathwaite missed a sweep to a straight ball from Wellington Masakadza and was out lbw for 182, having faced 312 balls and hit 18 fours.

Kyle Mayers after a wait of more than eight hours to reach the crease went into aggressive mode from the start, hitting two sixes and a four off 24 balls before he was bowled by a beautiful spinning delivery from Mavuta at 373 for two.

Mavuta now continued to take advantage of the new batters eager to hit out, and in 10 consecutive overs he took the next five wickets to fall.

Raymon Reifer was caught near the midwicket boundary for two and Jermaine Blackwood (5) top-edged a sweep to be caught by the keeper, Tafadzwa Tsiga’s first victim in Test cricket.

Then Roston Chase (7) miscued a cut to be caught at slip by Craig Ervine, before Mavuta completed five in an innings when Jason Holder (11) also edged a ball to the keeper.

All this time Chanderpaul was continuing to bat steadily towards his double-century, which eventually came in grand style as on 199 he drove a ball from Masakadza straight for six.

This was what Brathwaite had been waiting for before he declared, and the closure came at the end of the over, at 447 for six wickets, with Chanderpaul on 207 and Joshua da Silva three.

He was no doubt unaware that another over would probably have given Chanderpaul another achievement, that of playing a 10-hour innings – as it was, his time was 506 minutes.

He hit three sixes and 16 fours in a wonderful innings for his team.

Mavuta finished with five wickets in an innings for 140 runs.

Masakadza was the only other bowler to take a wicket in the long West Indies innings.

Zimbabwe now had two debutants in Kaia and Tanu Makoni to open their batting against the West Indies pacemen after spending almost 10 hours in the field.

They handled the situation admirably, playing with sound defence but ready to score when the opportunity arose.

The fifty partnership came up in the 21st over, and they took the score to 63 before Makoni, on 33, flashed at a ball from Alzarri Joseph outside the off stump, edging a sharp catch to first slip.

Chamu Chibhabha did not last long, scoring nine runs before he tried to force a ball from the left-arm spinner Gudakesh Modie on the off side and edged a catch to the keeper.

Craig Ervine came in next and wanted to play out the day, but in the final over he was remarkably beaten and bowled out by Brathwaite, bowling off-spin, for 13.

Kaia had by now passed a very valuable fifty, finishing the day on 59 not out, while Zimbabwe were on 114 for three wickets.