The name Chanderpaul has a rich presence in West Indies cricket history, and Tagenarine Chanderpaul carried the legacy forward by becoming just the tenth player from the region to convert his maiden Test hundred into a double-ton. The opener was a study in concentration during his unbeaten 207 off 467 balls, helping the visitors declare on 447 for 6 on day three of the first Test against Zimbabwe.
Kraigg Brathwaite and Chanderpaul together racked up multiple records as Bulawayo finally saw a full day’s play with the sun shining brightly after two rain-hit days. In reply, Innocent Kaia led the way with an unbeaten fifty on debut and Zimbabwe moved to 114 for 3, still trailing West Indies by 333 runs.
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With 99 overs lost to rain and West Indies managing to score just 221 runs in 89 overs across the first two days, they needed to up the rate to have any chance of forcing a result, and Brathwaite took on the challenge. He was proactive from the get-go and brought out a number of shots that were at odds with his naturally defensive style of play.
He struck Richard Ngarava for three successive fours in the third over of the day before slamming Victor Nyauchi for two more. Brathwaite hit six fours in his first 16 balls of the day, and soon brought up a third score in excess of 150 in Test cricket. He was rather agricultural in his shot-making, often moving in his crease and looking for gaps on the on side, a method probably inspired by Zimbabwe’s seven-two off-side heavy field.
Chanderpaul was more measured in his approach and collected a four only in the 21st over of the day. But he rotated the strike at every chance possible.
Zimbabwe also had their moments in the extended first session. There were a couple of close run-out appeals against Chanderpaul, while debutant wicketkeeper Tafadzwa Tsiga missed a stumping chance when Brathwaite was on 159. Soon after, Brad Evans failed to hold on to a tough chance to his right in his follow-through with Brathwaite on 167.
As a result, it did not take long for the pair to go past Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes’ 33-year-old record for the highest opening stand in Tests for West Indies. They also became the first opening pair to bat more than 100 overs in a Test innings since Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan 23 years ago.
Zimbabwe finally struck through Wellington Masakadza, who trapped Brathwaite in front for 182, ending a mammoth 336-run stand – the ninth-highest Test opening partnership. Soon after, Chanderpaul reached 150, the first instance of both West Indies openers scoring in excess of 150 in the same Test innings.
Kyle Mayers struck a couple of sixes before falling to Brandon Mavuta, as West Indies went into lunch on 374 for 2, having scored 153 runs in 36 overs in the first session.
Chanderpaul got a life when he was dropped first ball after the break, with Tsiga again failing to latch on. However, Mavuta continued to keep the ball in good areas and was rewarded with the wickets of Raymon Reifer and Jermaine Blackwood in quick succession.
Chanderpaul went after Masakadza, smashing him for a four and a six in an over to move swiftly through the 180s even as Mavuta continued to pick up wickets at the other end. The legspinner had Roston Chase edging for 7 before removing Jason Holder to claim his maiden five-wicket haul.
It then took Chanderpaul a while to reach his double-ton, but he got there in style by lofting Masakadza over mid-off for a six. That also took him past his father Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s highest Test score of 203 not out, and West Indies soon declared. The Zimbabwe openers, Kaia and Tanunurwa Makoni, both on Test debut, then survived the ten overs before tea to give their side a steady start.