BULAWAYO — West Indies left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie took seven wickets to help dismiss Zimbabwe for 115 in the second test before the visitors finished the first day on 133-4 for an 18-run lead.
The hosts were missing batter Gary Ballance through illness and their first innings lasted only 40.5 overs on Sunday after choosing to bat first. Opener Innocent Kaia top scored with 38.
Motie took full advantage of the spin-friendly conditions at Queens Sports Club, relying on turn of the ball, variation and change of pace for his career-best bowling figures of 7-37 in 14.5 overs.
“It’s a great feeling, it means a lot to me,” the 27-year-old Guyanese said. “I really enjoyed bowling in these spin-friendly conditions. Hopefully we can get a good total tomorrow.”
Motie’s seven victims were Zimbabwe interim captain Craig Ervine (22), Milton Shumba (3), Tafadzwa Tsiga (0), Wellington Masakadza (1), Brandon Mavuta (1), Victor Nyauchi (2) and Tanaka Chivanga (6).
Zimbabwe’s batting lineup, weakened by the absence of all-rounder Sikandar Raza and regular captain Sean Williams, was dealt another blow after former England batter Ballance, who scored a historic century on debut last week, was ruled out because of migraine.
“Look, it’s a challenge not having your senior guys — Sikandar (Raza), Sean (Williams) and now Gary Ballance after the way he batted in the first test,” Ervine said.
“It’s challenging but, like I’ve said before, it’s opportunities for others. It’s a privilege for them to play test cricket and see how it’s like.”
Left-hander Raymon Reifer (53) led his side’s reply with a half century, and shared a second-wicket partnership of 73 with opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul (36).
“It’s a great feeling, we want to build a lead as big as possible,” Reifer said.
Reifer, who was run out after a mix-up with Chanderpaul, said it was “disappointing not to be coming back tomorrow to get that hundred.”
Zimbabwe’s slow bowlers were also relatively successful in the conditions, with Mavuta and Masakadza sharing the other three wickets.
Ervine defended his decision to bat first.
“When we looked at the wicket we knew it was going to turn,” Ervine said. “West Indies hit the right areas and made it difficult for us to score.
“We chose to bat first because the wicket was dry and batting last was going to be difficult. We are hoping to keep their lead under 100 runs.”
The first of two tests was drawn. – AP