The talented cricketer became only the second top professional to hit a test hundred for two countries as his unbeaten 137 helped Zimbabwe avoid the follow on against the West Indies on Tuesday.
Ballance, playing his first test for Zimbabwe after his last for England in 2017, anchored his new side to 379-9 declared, conceding 68 runs on the first innings late on the fourth day.
The Zimbabweans gave themselves 13 overs to attack the West Indies but openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul were as resolute in reaching stumps at 21 without loss as they were in their stand of 336 in the first innings.
Ballance went in at 114-3 and watched four teammates dismissed in the days first 12 overs.
At 192-7 and the tail exposed, Zimbabwe was in jeopardy of having to follow on. It needed 56 more runs.
Ballance and allrounder Brandon Mavuta combined for 135 to turn around Zimbabwe’s mindset from survival into attack. It declared to match West Indies’ declaration to try and force a result, though a draw is more likely on the flat pitch with too much time lost to rain.
“It’s a positive move, a positive declaration,” Ballance said. ”We are trying to put ourselves on the front foot to win. That’s what the coach want us to play, to play positive.”
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