Raza's five-wicket haul keeps Zimbabwe afloat


Sikandar Raza's maiden five-wicket haul helped Zimbabwe stay afloat in an entertaining second session as Windies were left reeling at 288 for 7, trailing by 38, at Tea at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday (October 31).

Raza became the fifth Zimbabwe player to score a half-century and take a five-wicket haul in the same Test as he picked up five of the seven wickets to fall.

Zimbabwe were propped up by Chris Mpofu just before Lunch when he bounced out Kieran Powell after a 230-ball 90.

Raza built on that momentum and went on to dismiss Roston Chase (32), Shai Hope (40) and Jermaine Blackwood (5) to help the hosts tighten their grip on the game.

However, the poor calls and their fielding pegged Zimbabwe back. They've dropped five catches so far in the day and some poor calling to lose both reviews in the first session meant they couldn't get Jason Holder.

Raza pinged Jason Holder plumb in front in the 111th over when he was on 11 but had their lbw appeal turned down by Kumar Dharmasena.

Windies will rue the three wickets they lost in the first session and will need to accept the blame for playing under-par cricket in the second session. Chase was dismissed playing a reverse sweep while Hope was bowled.

Blackwood looked scratchy and eventually popped a simple catch to midwicket to fall after a 13-ball stay. Windies are 230 for 7 and still 96 away from Zimbabwe's total of 326.

Raza and Graeme Cremer kept asking questions to both Holder and Shane Dowrich but the Windies pair did well to go into the break with their wickets intact.

Make no mistake, some of the decision making and calls from the hosts have been appalling even while they tightened their noose on the game. They also dished out poor deliveries to allow Windies pick up crucial runs.

Windies, however, will also rue Powell and Hope for not making it count after settling down at the crease. Powell fell minutes before Lunch when he was bounced out by Mpofu and caught at gully. They had made a positive start in the day after scoring just 78 in 49 overs on the second day.

Powell and Bishoo weren't afraid to play their shots as runs continued to flow early on and the pressure was on Zimbabwe in the first hour. Windies picked up 110 runs from 40 overs in the first session before somehow losing the plot in the second.



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