An unbroken partnership of 94 between Sikandar Raza and Peter Moor ensured that Zimbabwe lived to fight another day in the second Test after the West Indies delivered some heavy blows at Queens Sports Club on Wednesday.
Raza and Moor came together with Zimbabwe reeling on 46/4 in their second innings, still needing 76 runs to make the West Indies bat again.
By the close of the fourth day they had carried the home side to 140/4 to claim an 18-run lead, with Raza adding his second half-century in a match where he has also claimed a five-wicket haul.
The partnership kept Zimbabwe’s slim hopes of winning the Test and squaring the two-match series alive, with 92 overs due to be bowled on the final day.
“We’ve got to get through a session and get ourselves into a position where we can maybe consider giving them a target,” Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak said.
“But it’s very tough, especially with the deficit we’ve had to make up, and with the pitch being so slow.”
Zimbabwe’s chances of ending a 10-match losing streak in Tests were badly dented by a 212-run partnership between Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder – a record for the eighth wicket for the West Indies.
The pair had come together on the third afternoon with the West Indies on 230/7, still trailing by 76 runs, and their stand allowed the visitors to eventually post 448 all out on the fourth morning.
Dowrich’s 103 was his first century in Test cricket, while Holder’s 110 was his second.
“Shane has not had the best time in the recent past and was in need of a score, so it was good to be out there with him,” said Holder.
“We were under pressure with the Zimbabweans bowling well. We really needed a partnership to get back in the game and it was down to me and Shane to put one up.”
Holder enjoyed some fortune, surviving a plumb lbw shout when he was on 11 as well as being dropped on 78, leaving Zimbabwe to rue their missed opportunities.
“They batted really well and put us under pressure, and we didn’t help ourselves with a few dropped catches,” said Streak.
“We’ve got ourselves to blame for giving them that lead, but we’ve just got to deal with where we’re at now.”
After spending 178 overs in the field, Zimbabwe’s punch-drunk top order were easily knocked over as Kemar Roach grabbed two wickets in his opening spell.
But Raza made an unbeaten 58 and Moor batted 152 deliveries for his 39 not out to ensure that the series, which the West Indies lead 1-0, will go into a final day.