Second Test preview: West Indies v Zimbabwe

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Opportunity knocks for an unprecedented – since 1988, at least – six consecutive Test victories for the West Indies, and they couldn't have asked for easier opposition to achieve the feat against.

Opportunity knocks for an unprecedented – since 1988, at least – six consecutive Test victories for the West Indies, and they couldn't have asked for easier opposition to achieve the feat against.

Zimbabwe, however, as has been the case so often since their return from exile, will be eager to salvage pride. Exactly how they're going to do so, though, is a veritable mystery.

Outgunned for the bulk of the series opener, which required a little more than seven sessions for a result, the visiting batsmen had very little answer to even the most standard deliveries from spinner Shane Shillingford.

Their own slow-bowling department lacked entirely, with the expensive leg-spinner Graeme Cremer almost certain to make way for the more reliable Prosper Utseya.

The batting department, too, could do with a stronger cog – Sean Williams must be next in line, perhaps at the expense of Malcom Waller, whose limited-overs success is not translating to enough runs on the biggest stage.

The Windies' only conundrum really revolves around one spinner or two. Conditions at Windsor Park probably demand the inclusion of a second specialist in Veerasammy Permaul instead of a third seamer, namely Tino Best.

The middle order remains solid, with Marlon Samuels' return a welcome boost – and Shivnarine Chanderpaul the dominant force today he was 10 years ago. The opening partnership, though, must deliver.

Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell's collective contribution has been fleeting since the former's comeback. A big stand in Dominica would go a long way in answering critics of the combination.

<b>Key Men</b><br><b>Shane Shillingford</b> was prolific in the series opener, and enjoyed plenty of success at this venue against Australia last year. The same, one surmises, awaits this week.

Zimbabwe's batting has been feeble at best this tour, with one man needed to buck the trend – and soon. Brendan Taylor's poor form recently doesn't promise much, but the ever steady <b>Hamilton Masakadza</b> must shoulder the responsibility.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013: First Test: West Indies won by nine wickets in Bridgetown<br>2003: Second Test: West Indies won by 128 runs in Bulawayo<br>2003: First Test: Match drawn in Harare<br>2001: Second Test: Match drawn in Harare<br>2001: First Test: West Indies won by an innings and 176 runs in Bulawayo

<b>Prediction</b><br>Online betting firm <a href='http://www.skybet.com/cricket' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>Sky Bet</b></a> have the West Indies at 1/6 and Zimbabwe at 16/1 in the odds to win the second Test. Visit Sky Bet for the latest cricket <a href='http://www.skybet.com/cricket' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>betting</b></a>.

More <a href='http://https://twitter.com/bet365' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>cricket bets here.</b></a>

<b>Probable Teams</b><br><i>West Indies:</i> Chris Gayle, Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Darren Sammy (captain), Shane Shillingford, Tino Best, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach.

<i>Zimbabwe:</i> Tino Mawoyo, Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Regis Chakabva, Raymond Price, Prosper Utseya, Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis.

<b>Dates:</b> 20-24 March<br><b>Morning session:</b> 10:00-12:00 (14:00-16:00 GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 12:40-14:40 (16:40-18:40 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 15:00-17:00 (19:00-21:00 GMT)<br><b>On-field umpires:</b> Tony Hill and Ranmore Martinesz<br><B>Third umpire:</B> Bruce Oxenford<BR><b>Match referee:</b> Jeff Crowe

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