POWERFUL knocks from Jermaine Blackwood (85 runs) and opening batsman Shai Hope (79 runs) put the West Indies Best "A" team in control on day one of the "Best versus Best" four-day practice match at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia.
At the close of play on Monday, the Jahmar Hamilton-led West Indies Best "B" team stood at a dismal 44/4 after 15 overs chasing the "A" team’s first innings total of 264 runs after 62.3 overs.
The match is being used as part of the squad’s preparations for the upcoming two-match Test series against South Africa which bowls off at the same venue from June 10.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the Blackwood XI piled on 62 runs for the loss of their first wicket as John Campbell (20) was caught by Nkrumah Bonner off Chemar Holder.
Holder continued his good spell by scalping incoming batsman Darren Bravo (seven) and then Kyle Mayers, who was unable to get off the mark. Bravo was caught by Jayden Searles while Mayers was sent packing, also out caught by Preston McSween (104/3).
Hope smashed 13 fours and one six in his knock but was next to go as Searles had him caught by Shamarh Brooks.
TT’s Joshua Da Silva (13 runs) did not last too long as he was bowled by Jomel Warrican. Blackwood would fall a couple of runs short of a century as Warrican struck once more, trapping the skipper leg-before wicket (254/6).
The remaining four batsmen were only able to add ten runs to their team’s overall tally as Rahkeem Cornwall (six), Veerasammy Permaul, Keon Harding – both dismissed without scoring – and Kavem Hodge (37 runs) all fell victim to a fiery Roston Chase spell.
Chase’s last-minute heroics with the ball saw him bag four wickets for 44 runs while Holder snagged three for 44 and Warrican two for 35.
In reply, the WI Best ‘B’ team struggled to get going and was restricted to just 44 runs for the loss of four wickets at the close of day-one play.
Action resumes on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the two-match Test Series against South Africa will also be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground for the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy on June 10-14 and June 18-22 and are the final matches in the current cycle of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship. The visitors are due to arrive on the island on Tuesday, June 1.
According to a statement from Cricket West Indies, four players who played in the recent series against Sri Lanka were unavailable for the start of Monday’s practice match.
“Jason Holder, the ICC’s number one ranked Test all-rounder arrived in St Lucia on May 28 and after going through the agreed quarantine protocols will begin training on June 1 once he has returned two negative PCR tests.
“Test Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and fast bowlers Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph are arriving in St Lucia later this coming week following their English County Championship commitments.
“They will join training after completing the quarantine protocols and once they respectively return two negative PCR tests each.”
WEST INDIES BEST A 264 – Jermaine Blackwood 85, Shai Hope 79; Kavem Hodge 37; Roston Chase 4/44, Chamar Holder 3/44, Jomel Warrican 2/35 vs WEST INDIES BEST B 44/4