Bulawayo: West Indies captain Brian Lara admitted on Tuesday that his side were outplayed by Zimbabwe in the first Test and called on his players to raise their game.
The second Test begins at the Queens Sports Club on Wednesday. Zimbabwe were denied what would have been only their eighth Test win in 12 years when West Indies’ tailenders Ridley Jacobs and Fidel Edwards hung on grimly to salvage a draw in the first Test which ended on Saturday in Harare.
Lara admitted his side had been given a shock. “Zimbabwe were better than us in every department in Harare,” he added. “But in scrambling a draw with our last pair together at the close of play, now instead of trying to draw the series, we can simply try to go out to win it.”
Lara said that Omari Banks, who missed the Harare Test because of stomach problems, would be available for selection. “There is a fight on for places,” he said.
Fast bowler Jeremy Taylor’s lower back problems are “not as bad as was expected” and he also has every chance of playing. If so, this means there may still be no place for Mervyn Dillon. Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak said his side are “taking a lot of positives” from the first match.
“We were really disappointed that we were unable to finish it off,” said Streak. “There might have been several things we could have done differently. But we were so close to winning, we feel we can win this one. It is a good feeling .”
The weather is very hot in Bulawayo, though Lara said it would be no problem to his team. The wicket will probably be on the slow side and will help spinners within three days or sooner.
Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda, Trevor Gripper, Mark Vermeulen, Stuart Carlisle, Stuart Matsikenyere, Craig Wishart, Tatenda Taibu, Heath Streak, Andy Blignaut, Ray Price, Blessing Mahwire.
West Indies (from): Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Daren Ganga, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh, Omari Banks, Vasbert Drakes, Jerome Taylor, Corey Colleymore, Fidel Edwards, Mervyn Dillon, Ravi Rampaul.