CricketWI vs ZIM: Centuries from Braithwaite, Tagenarine puts Windies in command at end of day two
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WI vs ZIM: Centuries from Braithwaite, Tagenarine puts Windies in command at end of day two

An opening double-century stand from openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul put the West Indies in the ascendancy against Zimbabwe in the first Test match in Bulawayo.

In control for large periods across day one and two, the pair’s biggest threat seemingly came from inclement weather, though rain only could delay the success of the pair who were both close to their best with the bat.

Brathwaite (116*) brought up his century first, reaching the milestone with a late cut through the slip cordon off the bowling of Wellington Masakadza. Not to be outdone, Chanderpaul brought up his maiden Test century in just his third Test match, calmly pushing Victor Nyauchi into the leg-side.

Chanderpaul’s hundred was also the first Test century scored by a West Indies opener outside of Brathwaite since 2013, breaking a streak of a dozen unmatched hundreds from his partner.

As a result of their efforts, the pair joined elite company in their achievement, compiling just the West Indies’ tenth opening wicket double-century stand since their first-ever Test back in 1928.

The highest opening stand by Windies was between Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes back in 1990 against England at St John’s, Antigua, where the duo put on a massive 298 runs.

Rather fittingly, Daren Ganga, who accompanied Chris Gayle to the West Indies’ other opening double-century stand in Zimbabwe (214 in 2001 at the same ground), was on the call when the pair passed his figure.

The stand is the first double-century opening stand for the team in Test cricket since 2012, and the fifth away from home.

Perhaps making the feat more remarkable, just 17 fours and a six have been hit by the pair at stumps on day two, with Zimbabwe’s bowlers toiling to no avail across the two days.

The hosts’ five-pronged attack have 20 maidens to show for their efforts, with Masakadza’s 0/30 from 16 overs the most economical of the group (1.87).

Brief Scores: West Indies: 221/0 (Kraigg Brathwaite 116*, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 101*, Wellington Masakadza 0/30).