BULAWAYO: Tagenarine Chanderpaul made an unbeaten double century after setting a new West Indies record of 336 for the first wicket with Kraigg Brathwaite on Monday before the tourists declared at 447-6 in the first Test against Zimbabwe. The opening stand at the Queens Sports Club in the southwestern city of Bulawayo surpassed the 298-run partnership shared by Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes against England in 1990.
Zimbabwe were 114-3 in reply at stumps on the third day – 333 runs behind-with Innocent Kaia, one of five Test newcomers in the team, unbeaten on 59 having struck nine fours. The final delivery of the day saw one skipper dismiss another as Brathwaite clean bowled Craig Ervine for 13 with a deceptively quick ball. Brathwaite made 182 before being trapped leg before while Chanderpaul, the son of former West Indies skipper Shivnarine, finished on 207 not out after hitting a six to reach a double ton in only his third Test outing.
It is the ninth highest opening Test partnership, a long way short of the overall record of 415 added by South Africa’s Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie against Bangladesh in Chattogram in 2008. Both batsmen began day three with hundreds under their belts as West Indies resumed on 221 without loss after two rain-affected days. The scoring rate had been under two and half until that point but Brathwaite, 116 not out overnight, immediately set about the attack with the run rate early on standing at five per over.
Brathwaite clattered his way to 182 before being trapped by spinner Wellington Masakadza. The captain misread the length and tried to sweep a full-length delivery on off stump, ending an innings which spanned 312 balls and included 18 fours. It was a welcome return to form for Brathwaite, who made only 19 and three against Australia in his last Test, two months ago in Adelaide.
It was small reward for the Zimbabwe bowlers who had toiled 114 overs before making the breakthrough. They were rewarded with a second wicket before lunch when Kyle Mayers was bowled through the gate for 20 by leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta, who went on to take five wickets at a cost of 140 runs. But the wicket that eluded him and four other Zimbabwean bowlers was that of Chanderpaul who, picking up the tempo from a sluggish first two days, struck three sixes and 16 fours before West Indies declared soon after lunch. – AFP