Homeboy Shillingford shines bright in big Windies win

Shane Shillingford continued his amazing comeback to international cricket as he bowled West Indies to a comprehensive victory over Zimbabwe during the second Test match on Friday.

The tall off-spinner took five wickets for 34 runs off 15 outstanding overs, as West Indies won by the huge margin of an innings and 65 runs on the third day. The Windies bowled out the visitors for 141 in their second innings to take the series 2-0 and retain the Clive Lloyd Trophy. Shillingford’s brilliance was complemented by the accurate off-spin of Marlon Samuels who picked up three second innings wickets to end with 6-50 in the match.

The West Indies won the first Test at Kensington Oval by 9 wickets inside three days last week.

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy declared at the overnight score of 381-8, a first innings lead of 206 runs, and immediately Shillingford went to work, much to the delight of the jubilant crowd of close to 8,000 fans.

He followed up his 5-59 in the Zimbabwe first innings on Wednesday and ended with the impressive match figures of 10-93. Overall he claimed a record 19 wickets in the tests to surpass the previous West Indies two-match series record of 16 wickets by Courtney Walsh in New Zealand in 1995.

It was Shillingford’s second ten-wicket haul at his home ground following his 10-219 against Australia a year ago, leaving him beaming about his own performance as well as the achievement of the West Indies.

“It was a really great team performance and we are all very proud of what we achieved. Without my team-mates I couldn’t do it and couldn’t have achieved what I did today. The spirit was really good and I’m just happy we came out with this victory to clinch the series,” he observed said after he accepted the Match-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series awards.

He said patience was a key ingredient of his wicket-taking strategy.

“It was a matter of not being complacent and applying ourselves. One of our goals was not to be complacent. We knew once we had them down we had to keep them down and that is what we did. It turned out the way we wanted it to. As a bowler I just want to keep taking wickets,” he added.

Shillingford suffered the misfortune of being dropped from the West Indies test team last year, even after his heroics against Australia, he said.

Admitting he felt "a certain way" after that setback, he added that he did not allow it to affect him too badly. Instead, he said he focused on the succceeding first-class season to once again perform at the highest standard and reclaim his test place.

“It was hard work to get back, but now I’m back I plan to stay here. Here is one of the places where the wicket is spin-friendly, but I still knew I had to get the balls in the right areas and build the pressure and that is what I tried to do out there."

The victory was the sixth consecutive win for the West Indies. The winning streak dates back to August last year when the Caribbean side beat New Zealand in Antigua and Jamaica, and last November's triumphs against Bangladesh in Dhaka and Khulna.

The Test results meant the West Indies won all the matches during the series. They won the One-Dayers 3-0 at the Grenada National Stadium and the T20s 2-0 at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.


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