BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Off-spinner Shane Shillingford snatched a six-wicket haul as West Indies crushed Zimbabwe by nine wickets inside three days here Wednesday, to post their fifth consecutive Test victory for the first time in 25 years.
The tall right-armer, playing his first Test in nearly a year, picked up six for 49 as Zimbabwe, resuming the day on 41 for three, were bundled out for a paltry 107 just before lunch at Kensington Oval.
Following on from his three first innings wickets, Shillingford finished with match figures of nine for 107.
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who again bowled with pace, ended the innings with two wickets in his eighth over to claim three for 10.
Afforded three overs before the interval to gather the 12 runs required for victory, West Indies lost Kieran Powell for six to stumble to the break on nine for one.
The left-hander, who also failed in the first innings, gloved the third delivery of the second over of the innings from pacer Tendai Chatara, and was easily taken at gully by Graeme Cremer with the score on eight.
However, the Windies needed just two overs after the break to wrap up the game, when Chris Gayle (four not out) steered seamer Kyle Jarvis to third man for a couple.
The victory comes on the heels of triumphs over New Zealand and Bangladesh in two-Test series last year.
Zimbabwe never suggested permanence from the outset and lost a wicket as early as the first over of the day when captain Brendan Taylor edged the final delivery from Shillingford into his pads, giving Powell an easy catch at short leg with the score on 47.
Four balls later in the next over, speedster Kemar Roach removed Ray Price’s middle stump for seven with no runs added before Macolm Waller (5) gave Powell his second catch of the innings close in, off Shillingford.
Craig Ervine, dropped on four by Gayle off Shillingford and again on 20 by Darren Bravo off fast bowler Tino Best, resisted with 23 not out off 69 balls with three fours.
He put on 19 with wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva (6) for the seventh wicket and another 20 for the eighth wicket with Cremer (14).
With little to lose, Ervine collected two boundaries in Best’s sixth over, smashing him through cover before edging one past third slip.
The revival was short-lived, however, as Chakabva was bamboozled and bowled by Shillingford in the next over to leave Zimbabwe in tatters at 77 for seven. Cremer, who cleared long-on with Shillingford, got one that spat from off a length and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, to hand the Dominican his sixth wicket.
Ironically, Shillingford finished with ten wickets in his last Test in the Caribbean – against Australia in Roseau last April.
At 97 for eight, Zimbabwe were in danger of being dismissed below three figures for the ninth time in their history but Jarvis (9) erased these fears by lofting Shillingford for a straight six.
His adventure cost him when he flashed at a short one from Gabriel and nicked behind to Ramdin and Chatara tailed away to the leg side to the second ball he faced and watched as his stumps were rattled.
The second Test bowls off at Windsor Park in Dominica next Wednesday.
ZIMBABWE 1st Innings 211 (Tino Mawoyo 50, Craig Ervine 29, Brendan Taylor 26; Marlon Samuels 4-13, Shane Shillingford 3-58, Kemar Roach 2-31) and 107 (Craig Ervine 23 not out; Shane Shillingford 6-49, Shannon Gabriel 3-10)
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 307 (Darren Sammy 73, Denesh Ramdin 62, Marlon Samuels 51, Chris Gayle 40, Shiv Chanderpaul 26, Tino Best 24; Kyle Jarvis 5-54, Hamilton Masakadza 2-25, Tendai Chatara 2-66) and 12 for one.
ZIMBABWE 2nd innings
(overnight 41 for three)
T Mawoyo c Sammy b Gabriel 9
V Sibanda c & b Shillingford 15
H Masakadza c Sammy b Shillingford 1
R Price b Roach 7
*B Taylor c Powell b Shillingford 6
C Ervine not out 23
M Waller c Powell b Shillingford 5
+R Chakabva b Shillingford 6
A Cremer c wkp Ramdin b Shillingford 14
K Jarvis c wkp Ramdin b Gabriel 9
T Chatara b Gabriel 0
Extras (b8, lb2, w1, nb1) 12
TOTAL (all out, 41.4 overs) 107
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-26, 3-39, 4-47, 5-47, 6-58, 7-77, 8-97, 9-107, 10-107.
Bowling: Roach 10-7-12-1, Best 8-2-26-0 (w1), Gabriel 7.4-3-10-3 (nb1), Shillingford 16-4-49-6.
WEST INDIES 2nd innings (target: 12 runs)
C Gayle not out 4
K Powell c Cremer b Chatara 6
DM Bravo not out 1
Extras (b1) 1
TOTAL (1 wkt, 5 overs) 12
Did not bat: M Samuels, S Chanderpaul, +D Ramdin, *D Sammy, S Gabriel, K Roach, T Best, S Shillingford
Fall of wicket: 1-8.
Bowling: Jarvis 3-1-10-0, Chatara 2-1-1-1.
Result: West Indies won by nine wickets.
Series: West Indies lead two-match series 1-0.
Man-of-the-Match: Shane Shillingford.
Umpires: R Martinesz, B Oxenford; TV – A Hill