In the first test match between the West Indies and Zimbabwe, which took place in Bulawayo, the opening partnership of Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul scored 200 runs and put the West Indies in a position of strength.
Even though rain simply served to prolong the success of the duo, who were both close to their best with the bat, the pair appeared to be in charge for significant portions of both day one and day two. The pair’s greatest apparent threat appeared to come from stormy weather.
Brathwaite (116*), who batted first, became the first player to reach his century. He did so by achieving the milestone with a late cut through the slip cordon off of the bowling of Wellington Masakadza.
Chanderpaul, not to be outdone, brought up his first Test century in just his third Test match by gently driving Victor Nyauchi into the leg-side. This was Chanderpaul’s first century in test cricket.
Chanderpaul’s hundred was also the first Test century hit by a West Indies opener other than Brathwaite since 2013, snapping Brathwaite’s trend of a twelve consecutive unmatched hundreds.
As a result of their efforts, the pair joined rare company in their achievement, completing only the tenth opening wicket double-century stand for the West Indies since the team played their first-ever Test in 1928. This accomplishment places them in illustrious company.
When the Windies were playing England in St. John’s, Antigua, back in 1990, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes put on a magnificent opening stand for their team, scoring 298 runs between them. This was the biggest opening stand ever scored by the Windies.
Daren Ganga, who had previously joined Chris Gayle in the West Indies’ other initial double-century stand in Zimbabwe (214 in 2001 at the same ground), was the one on the call when the pair passed his total. This was a somewhat appropriate turn of events.
This is the team’s first opening partnership in a Test match since 2012 to score 200 runs, and it is their seventh such stand played away from their home ground.
The fact that the pair has only struck 17 fours and one six at the end of day two of the match, while Zimbabwe’s bowlers have toiled without success over the course of both days, may make the accomplishment even more impressive.
The five-pronged approach employed by the home team has produced 20 maidens as a result of their work, with Masakadza’s performance of 0/30 from 16 overs being the most economical of the bunch (1.87).
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