BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Darren Sammy and Denesh Ramdin batted the West Indies out of problems and into a position of strength as they added a crucial century stand on the second day of the first Test against Zimbabwe.

Darren Sammy during his knock of 79 against Zimbabwe.WICB Media Photo/Randy Brooks

The pair put on a record 106 for the seventh wicket after the West Indies looked in trouble at 151-6, with the dismissals of Marlon Samuels (51) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (26) in the space of seven runs.

Sammy launched a brutal assault on the Zimbabwe bowlers, scoring 73 off 69 balls including four sixes and eight fours at Kensington Oval on Wednesday. Ramdin celebrated his 28th birthday with a well-compiled 62 off 130 balls with eight boundaries in over three hours of batting.

It helped the home side to 307 all out in reply to 211 made by the visitors on the opening day. They will resume on 41-3 on Thursday – still 55 runs away from making the West Indies bat again. Off-spinner Shane Shillingford has so far taken two wickets in two overs while pacer Shannon Gabriel bowled with great pace and took the other.

“We wanted to bat all day but we didn’t so when we came out to bowl we were hunting for wickets. From the time Zimbabwe came down we were focused on winning. We have won four Test matches [in a row] and before this Test series we said we wanted to win this one – take it game by game, day by day,” Sammy said after the day’s play.

“We are well on top with the wickets – with Shillingford getting two wickets and Shannon bowling quite fast and getting the other wicket. We got three of their top order batmen out and they are still over 50 runs behind.

“We are heading on the right track. Tomorrow morning I will remind the guys that this game is not yet over. Cricket is a game of shifting fortunes and glorious uncertainties, so tomorrow we will have to come out there with the same attitude and mindset we had this afternoon, look for quick wickets and bowl them out very quickly.”

Speaking about his approach during the day, the captain said his game-plan was to attack the Zimbabwe bowlers and reverse the pressure.

“I backed myself and I played my natural game. I play to my strengths. That partnership with Ramdin and myself really put us in a good position and set up the game nicely. I always look to do my best and deliver what the team requires,” Sammy added.

“Today for me it wasn’t about survival as I always back myself to play the proper shot. They gave me some loose balls and I put them away. That’s cricket – you respect the good balls and when you get the bad balls you put them away. It was a matter of [proper] execution. It was good to see that Denesh at Number 6 and myself scheduled to be at Number 7 were able to put on over 100 runs and put the team on the right track after we were five wickets down.”

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