Zimbabwe's bowlers continued their gradual strangulation of the compliant West Indies batsmen on the third morning of the second Test yesterday. Even without their principal bowler, Heath Streak, confined to his hospital bed with a back injury, Zimbabwe confined the West Indies to 55 runs off 32 tortured overs in the two hours before lunch. Crawling from their overnight 108 for 4 to 161 for 5 at the interval, the West Indies were 147 behind with only the four negligible fast bowlers remaining.
It needed a miracle to conjure up their remarkable victory in the first Test when Zimbabwe, needing a mere 99, were routed for 63. They are likely to require something similar to escape from their latest bind.
Captain Jimmy Adams, always limited in the range of his strokes if not in patience, soldiered on through the two hours, moving from 9 to 33. His fellow left-hander and Jamaican, Wavell Hinds, was even more constrained. He added two singles off 31 balls to his overnight 12 before he was caught at slip after 50 minutes, driving at Murphy.
The Zimbabweans were distraught when the umpire Athar Zaidi refused their appeal for a bat-pad catch to silly point next ball, Ridley Jacobs' first. The left-handed wicketkeeper brought the first positive batting, punching away three fours. His fierce pull off a long-hop from Murphy struck Murray Goodwin, standing no more than a couple of yards away, a sickening blow on the back of the neck as he turned his head. He had to be carried off the ground and taken to hospital for X-rays.
The frailty of the West Indies' batting has been evident for some time. In their eight Tests in 1999, they fell for under 200 five times. In 40 one-day internationals, the figure was 16 times.
The problem has been compounded by the self-imposed absence of Brian Lara, their only batsman of genuine Test quality. In the first Test, they could only muster totals of 187 and 147 and progressed at less than two runs an over. It is a plight that has already heightened calls for Lara's return for the following series of three Tests against Pakistani. Lara's current state of health, and mind, is not known.
Third day; Zimbabwe won toss.
ZIMBABWE - First Innings (Friday: 220 for 5)
B A Murphy b Rose 0 A D R Campbell lbw b King 1 S V Carlisle c Jacobs b Walsh 44 H H Streak b King 2 B C Strang c Jacobs b King 13 H K Olonga not out 22 Extras (b4 lb12 w2 nb16) 34 Total (115.4 overs) 308
Fall (cont): 6-222 7-228 8-234 9-254. Bowling: Ambrose 25-8-36-0; Walsh 22.4-6-46-2; King 23-8-51-5; Rose 24-8-67-2; Gayle 10-0-46-0; Adams 9-2-32-0; Chanderpaul 2-0-12-0.
WEST INDIES - First Innings
A F G Griffith b Johnson 6 S L Campbell c Campbell b Murphy 48 C H Gayle c A Flower b Olonga 13 S Chanderpaul c A Flower b Strang 12 *J C Adams not out 34 W W Hinds c Campbell b Murphy 14 Ã¿R D Jacobs c A Flower b Olonga 27 C E L Ambrose c Carlisle b Johnson 7 F A Rose not out 5 Extras (b2, lb2 nb7) 11 Total (for 7, 100 overs) 177
Fall: 1-37 2-69 3-85 4-85 5-122 6-161 7-170. To bat: R D King, C A Walsh. Bowling: Olonga 23-6-41-2; Strang 19-10-18-1 (nb1); Johnson 22-11-32-2 (nb6); Murphy 27-10-65-2; G Flower 3-1-2-0; Gripper 6-2-15-0.
Umpires: Athar Zaidi (Pak) and E A Nicholls.