Bulawayo: Roston Chase and Kraigg Brathwaite led the way with the bat as the West Indies strengthened their grip on the first Test against Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club on Monday.
After Brathwaite made 86 at the top of the innings, Chase scored an unbeaten 91 to take the West Indies to 369 for eight at stumps on the third day.
The tourists now hold an overall lead of 429, meaning Zimbabwe will face a world-record chase in the fourth innings.
The two batsmen took very different approaches to their innings, with Brathwaite’s patience paying off in the morning session as the West Indies added just 67 runs for the loss of Kyle Hope for 43.
With the heat and general frustration taking its toll on the Zimbabwean bowlers, Chase was able to cash in later in the day.
“I thought Kraigg played a really good innings,” said Chase. “He wore down the bowlers for the other batsmen so that when we got out there they weren’t as fresh, which didn’t allow them to be as consistent as they wanted to be.”
Zimbabwe did enjoy a brief period of success in the hour before tea, when the West Indies fell from 174 for two to 244 for six.
Brathwaite’s innings was ended when he was trapped lbw by off-spinner Sikandar Raza, before Kyle Jarvis used the second new ball to dismiss Shai Hope for 44.
Left-arm spinner Sean Williams also enjoyed success with the harder ball, as he had Jermaine Blackwood stumped and Shane Dowrich caught at slip.
However, captain Jason Holder counter-attacked with a run-a-ball 24, and Chase continued to score briskly.
“My plan was to be aggressive towards the bowlers, to get the field changed around a bit and get some of the catchers from nearby away from the bat, to make it easier for me to play my natural game,” said Chase.
When Holder was dismissed by Graeme Cremer shortly after tea, Zimbabwe’s hot day in the field looked to be nearing an end, before Devendra Bishoo hit a feisty 44 in an 82-run stand for the eighth wicket with Chase.
The partnership was terminated on the stroke of stumps when Cremer had Bishoo caught on the boundary to record his seventh wicket of the match, but Zimbabwe still face a long battle to save the game.
“Everyone knows it’s going to be tough, but you can’t go out there and be negative and hand the game over,” said fast bowler Jarvis, who is playing his first Test since April 2013.
“If they bat for another session, we have to bat out five sessions. I think the best case is that we could get a draw out of this game.”