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West Indies opt to bat on drizzly morning, Solomon Mire makes Test debut | Cricket

Toss West Indies chose to bat v Zimbabwe
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West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss and chose bat in a damp opening to the first Test at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. With overnight rain having dampened the outfield, the toss was delayed by 10 minutes. Groundstaff kept the entire square covered until moments before the toss with heavy rainclouds around, but there was no delay to the start of the match.

The visitors opted for the same playing XI that played in their last Test at Lord’s against England, reinforcing the continuity in selection that both coach and captain spoke of ahead of this tour.

“The pitch looks a little dry. Want to make first use of the surface,” Holder said at the toss. “We’ve been doing some good things over the past year, just need to win a series by putting our batting, bowling and fielding together.”

Zimbabwe, meanwhile, handed a debut to allrounder Solomon Mire, who was selected to open the batting alongside Hamilton Masakadza, and will have to contribute with the ball too as the hosts opted for just three frontline bowlers in captain Graeme Cremer, the returning Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu, playing on his home ground.

With Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller in their middle order, Zimbabwe would have plenty of part-time spin options to choose from.

“We would’ve wanted to bat first too, but the pitch will do something,” Cremer said. “You need to score 650-odd runs across two innings to have a chance.”

The summer rains usually arrive towards the end of October, and as a precaution a super sopper was brought down from Harare ahead of this match.

Zimbabwe: 1 Solomon Mire, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Craig Ervine, 4 Brendan Taylor, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Sikandar Raza, 7 Regis Chakabva (wk), 8 Malcolm Waller, 9 Graeme Cremer (capt), 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Chris Mpofu.

West Indies: 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Kyle Hope, 4 Shai Hope, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Shane Dowrich (wk), 8 Jason Holder (capt), 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Shannon Gabriel.

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Updated: October 21, 2017 — 9:49 am
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