Motie’s 7 for 37 puts West Indies in command

West Indies 133 for 4 (Reifer 53, Mavuta 2-24) lead Zimbabwe 115 (Kaia 38, Motie 7-37) by 18 runs

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Just like a more high-profile surface several thousands of kilometres away, the pitch at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo offered plenty of turn as early as the first session on day one, and West Indies’ left-armer Gudakesh Motie used the assistance to run through Zimbabwe with figures of 7 for 37.

By stumps, the visitors had already taken a first-innings lead.

Zimbabwe were shot out for just 115 in the 41st over, having lost eight wickets for 41 runs. Innocent Kaia top-scored with 38 and Donald Tiripano’s unbeaten 23 helped drag the hosts past 100.

The day had begun with West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel extracting considerable bounce at high speed from the slow surface, but that quickly made way for Motie’s left-arm spin troubling the batters out of the rough.

Motie had conceded 16 runs in his first four overs, but eventually accounted for the last seven Zimbabwe wickets. His first victim was Milton Shumba inside-edging to short leg, after the left-hander skipped down to defend a ball turning into him.

Two overs later, the slow turn away from the right-hander Tafadzwa Tsiga had him ballooning a catch to point. And in the 27th over, Craig Ervine was trapped in front when he missed an attempted sweep.

When Wellington Masakadza inside-edged Motie to leg slip in the 29th over, Zimbabwe were 81 for 7, and he completed his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket by dismissing Brandon Mavuta.

Raymon Reifer swings big•Feb 11, 2023•AP

Perhaps trying to take the attack to the bowler, Mavuta tried to loft a flighted delivery that dipped around off stump.

He got an outside edge that bounced off wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva’s pads towards slip, where Jermaine Blackwood caught it on the second attempt.

Motie bowled all his 14.5 overs unchanged; his spell was interrupted by only the lunch break.

In their reply, West Indies lost captain Kraigg Brathwaite in the eighth over – also to the left-arm spin of Wellington Masakadza – but Raymon Reifer and Tagenarine Chanderpaul added 73 for the second wicket.

Despite losing Chanderpaul for 36 – top-edging legspinner Mavuta to short fine leg – West Indies were well placed at 117 for 2 when a mix-up with Blackwood cost Reifer his wicket shortly after bringing up his half-century.

The visitors also lost Blackwood to Mavuta before stumps, and finished the day on 133 for 4, leading by 18 runs. (ESPNcricinfo)

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