About the Match
The first test between Zimbabwe and the West Indies turned out to be a closely contested match but one where the visitors reaped the advantage of playing more test cricket and understanding the need for patience in this game. The second test is set to throw up similar challenges and now the onus will be on Zimbabwe to show that they have learned their lesson in between matches.
A lot was expected of Zimbabwe before the first test match. They were fielding their strongest test side in some time because f the return of players like Kyle Jarvis and Brendon Taylor while also looking to build on their gains from the series against Sri Lanka.
Their bowling performance in the first inning suggested that something special may be in store but an extremely poor batting performance meant that they were always going to be chasing the game. This is something that Graeme Cremer has spoken about improving and looking to correct in this game.
Zimbabwe will ideally want to forget the first inning and try and keep their second inning batting performance in mind when almost all their batsmen got starts. Masakadza and Mire at the top of the order were aggressive without taking unnecessary risks while Brendan Taylor showcased his class.
If Craig Ervine and Sean Williams can get their act together then this Zimbabwe team should not have to worry about runs too much. In a match that is expected to relatively low scoring once again, small contributions from every batsman can be crucial and be the difference between winning and losing.
If Zimbabwe has learned anything from the last match then it should be the need for patience and allowing yourself the best chance to score runs on a turning pitch.
The chief wicket-takers for Zimbabwe in the first match were Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams but the rest really need to step up to make this attack a threat to the West Indies. There were too many bad balls on offer and the bowlers failed to build sustained pressure even when the West Indies lost early wickets.
We expect the spinners to play a major role once again and the bulk of the wickets will have to be taken by Cremer, Williams, and Raza but the fast bowlers must also be able to stop the flow of runs and take some crucial wickets.
The advantage of playing top-class test cricket showed in the first match as the West Indies were better prepared to take control of the important periods of the game. Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Devendra Bishoo, and Kraigg Braithwaite all played important roles and look certain to form the nucleus of this new West Indies side for some time to come.
The victory in the last match did not come easy for the West Indies and they will not be expecting one in this match either. One of the good things about this team is that they are not complacent and will approach this match with all the seriousness it deserves.
The batting proved to be the main difference in the first match lead by Hope, Braithwaite, Chase and some useful contributions from the others in the middle order. The same set of players can be counted on to score the runs again. We personally think Kyle Hope showed some good form but was unable to convert his starts into a really big score and that he could be a dark horse to back for a big score in this team.
Roston Chase is also another player that can get on run-scoring sprees like he did against India earlier this year too. We will not be surprised to see him back up his 95 in the second inning with another good knock.
The one standout bowler in the West Indian lineup was Devendra Bishoo. The diminutive leg-spinner led the attack with confidence and posed a threat to every batsman that he bowled to. With the pitch certain to take spin from day 1 once again, Bishoo should be the easy pick to be the top wicket-taker in this side.
Roston Chase also chips in with his off-spin while the extra pace of Kemar Roach up front is likely to prise out some batsmen as well.
Pitch and Conditions
There has been some rain in the air although the current forecast for the match is pretty good. It is unlikely that too much of time will be lost to the conditions. The pitch is sure to be a turner, perhaps even more than the one that we saw in the first test.
Winning the toss and batting first will be crucial.
West Indies to wi