Bridgetown: West Indies offspinner Shane Shillinford has termed his nine-wicket haul against Zimbabwe in the Kensington Oval Test as the best performance of his fledgling career. Returning to the side after more than nine months, Shillingford played a major role in West Indies' nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe - their fifth in a row in Tests - with 9 for 107.
Shinningford took 3 for 58 as West Indies bowled Zimbabwe out for 211 on the first day, and then helped seal a huge win inside two and a half days with a career-best 6 for 49. Reflecting on his performance after taking the Man-of-the-Match award, Shillingford said it was a career high.
"I would rate this as my best performance ever. When I got the ten wickets against Australia last year, we didn't win the match, so there wasn't anything to celebrate. Today I got six, and ended with nine in the match. We have something to celebrate - we won the match [by a] big [margin] and I'm happy to be part of it. That makes it special."
Returning to Test cricket after a long gap, the offspinner took 9 for 107 to help West Indies achieve their fifth consecutive victory.
With his height, Shillingford was able to get his offbreaks to jump at the Zimbabwean batsman; in the second innings Malcolm Waller and Greame Cremer fell to deliveries that reared off the third-day surface. "I was quite surprised to see how helpful the pitch was from the first day, so I decided to exploit it," said Shillingford. "I was able to get spin and bounce and that was great for me. I knew after that, all I had to do was get the ball in the right areas and I would get my reward."
Shillingford's previous Test was against England in May 2012, and he was recalled with Sunil Narine being rested for the first Test. Shillingford's return came in a first-class season in which he took 24 wickets in three matches for Windward Islands.
"I played a couple of games here during the first-class season and picked up wickets. I just gave it my all. I tried to bowl a consistent line first up, and then tried to spin the ball as much as possible," he said. "Before the match, the captain and the coach spoke to us about the importance of this match and series, and the need to win and make it five straight. I was confident from the time I came into the match. I always do well when I play at Kensington against Barbados, so I came into this match knowing I had a crucial role to play."