ZIM vs WI: Gary Ballance Becomes Second Player to Score Test Centuries For Two Countries as Zimbabwe Fightback

Gary Ballance became only the second Test batsman after Kepler Wessels to score centuries for both countries when he scored an unbeaten 137 for Zimbabwe against the West Indies in Bulawayo on Tuesday.

Needing at least 248 runs in response to the West Indies’ 447–6 declared to avoid a possible follow-on, Zimbabwe declared at 379–9 after the second session on the fourth day of the First Test.

The hosts trailed by 68 runs after the first innings in their first Test since losing to Bangladesh two years ago.

Batting again, the tourists were close at 21–0, giving them an 89-run lead going into the final day at Queens. Play club.

Harare-born Ballance scored four centuries for England but last played for them in 2017.

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He switched allegiance to Zimbabwe after he was released by Yorkshire, admitting he had used racist language towards former teammate Azim Rafiq.

Ballance told reporters, “I cannot even describe how proud I am, firstly to represent Zimbabwe, and secondly to score a century.”

“There’s no better feeling than this. It’s been fantastic (playing for Zimbabwe). Every single coach, every single player, has been welcoming.

“I have played with a few players before, but coming and being welcomed into a new team makes a difference. This makes it easy to perform.

“The announcement was a positive step. We are trying to put ourselves on the front foot to win. Coach (Dave Houghton) wants us to play positive cricket.”

Born in South Africa, Wessels scored four centuries for Australia and two more for his homeland when they were reintroduced to Test cricket in the 1990s.

– ‘A matter of pride’ –

Referring to having left Zimbabwe for England as a schoolboy to play for two countries, Ballance said “the feelings are different”.

“For England, it was a sense of achievement. For Zimbabwe, it is also an achievement and a point of pride.”

Balance and leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta, who made 56 before playing down the line for a short delivery and being bowled by Jason Holder, put on a fine eighth-wicket partnership.

Aware of his crucial role as Zimbabwe arrived at number five with 114-3, Balance was the epitome of caution, building up his innings.

As per the declaration, the 33-year-old had faced 231 balls and his total included two sixes, one shot over deep square leg that took him to his hundred and 12 fours.

While Balance was thwarting West Indies’ plan to dismiss Zimbabwe cheaply and force them to bat again, Mavuta played an excellent back-up role.

After taking a five-wicket haul for the West Indies, he proved equally skilful with the bat and did not shy away from being offered scoring chances as he hit nine fours.

West Indies fast Alzarri Joseph said, ‘Of course we wanted wickets, but it did not happen.’

“But we have a full day of cricket left. The wicket is flat and it should be a batting day (on Wednesday). But obviously we will try to win the match.”

The day began with Test debutant Innocent Kaiah scoring 59, but he could only add eight more before Joseph trapped him lbw.

Kaia missed the flick attempt and hit the front pad high. The review was not possible as DRS is not being used in this series.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)