BULAWAYO – Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and fellow opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul both scored half centuries on Saturday as West Indies finished on 112 runs for no loss before rain washed out play after lunch on day one of the first test against host Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers lacked penetration on a flat pitch at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, but were able to keep the Windies batsmen in check with calm and composed bowling.

The West Indies openers, who both finished undefeated on 55, looked fairly comfortable at the crease and pounced on the bad ball when the Zimbabwe bowlers fluffed their lines.

“The pitch looked good for batting, but obviously we knew raining would be a factor,” said Windies skipper Brathwaite.

“Today is history, today is gone, we have to come back tomorrow and start setting the foundation again. Obviously Zimbabwe is going to come back strong tomorrow, so it’s important that we start again tomorrow.”

Zimbabwe fielded five debutants, including former England batter Gary Ballance, who completed his international switch during the African side’s white-ball series with Ireland in January.

“We kept the pressure on, but credit to the West Indies, I thought they batted nicely,” said Steve Kirby, Zimbabwe’s bowling coach.

“It was a very good surface for Test cricket. On a different day, we could have had two, three wickets. It was just a good day of old-fashioned Test cricket.”

Zimbabwe is missing frontline bowler Blessing Muzarabani though long term injury, as well as in-form batting all-rounders Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl, who are plying T20 franchise cricket in Dubai and Bangladesh.

“We are always going to lose players to white-ball cricket,” said Englishman Kirby.

“But there is still a huge appetite for Test cricket. Test cricket is a privilege. It’s a very emotional time for them (the debutants) and they will remember if for the rest of their lives.”



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