Blackwood: Extreme heat threatened my focus
GEELONG, Australia (CMC):
Middle order batsman Jermaine Blackwood said he almost lost concentration as he was forced to battle extreme heat on his way to a polished half century for West Indies against Victoria X1 on the first day of their two-day tour match yesterday.
Blackwood compiled a well-played 69 to bolster his confidence after scoring a couple of ducks in the first Test as West Indies amassed 303 for eight at Simonds Stadium.
The diminutive Jamaican batsman, who scored seven fours and a six, said it was the first time he experienced such extreme heat as temperatures soared to 43 degrees, one of the hottest days on record in the history of Australia.
"It was extremely hot out there ... dry heat. Even when the wind came across the ground, it was a kind of hot wind. I've never experienced anything like it," said Blackwood.
"We've played in hot, sticky conditions, but never quite like that."
Blackwood added 99 runs for the third wicket with Kraigg Brathwaite, who top-scored with 78 from 175 deliveries in the first two sessions before retiring to give the rest of his teammates a chance at the wicket.
Marlon Samuels struck an aggressive 45 from 39 balls including seven fours. Denesh Ramdin scored 38, while opener Rajindra Chandrika chipped in with 28.
"I was quite tired after running some threes. It's a big ground, so we had to run a few threes. At one point, I felt like I was losing concentration, so you had to dig deep for every ball," said Blackwood.
"I had to put that behind me and just focus on each ball. We got some starts. We just need to convert those starts now."
Blackwood added: "This is international cricket and we will face different conditions. It was cold (in Tasmania) for the first Test and now it's hot here. It's all about coping."
West Indies are using the match as part of their preparation for the second Test match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, starting Boxing Day.
"We'll just have to go back into the nets and continue to work hard," he said.
"We're just putting in the work and hopefully it will pay off in the next Test match."