Blackwood finds form with half-century
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC):
Jermaine Blackwood gathered a patient half-century to find form ahead of next week's first Test, as the WICB President XI's three-day game against India finished in a draw here yesterday.
Resuming from their overnight 26 for one, the hosts were 223 for six when time was called an hour before the scheduled close at Warner Park.
The right-handed Blackwood scored 51, an innings that required 143 balls, a shade over three hours, and included seven fours. The knock followed up his 36 in the first innings and was an encouraging sign especially after his first ball 'duck' in last week's two-day game at the same venue.
Montcin Hodge and Vishaul Singh both scored 39 while opener John Campbell made 31.
Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin was the best bowler with three for 59.
Campbell, unbeaten on nine at the start, faced 59 balls and struck two fours and two sixes before becoming the day's first casualty, caught at mid-on off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, at 60 for two.
With just ten runs added, Shai Hope was caught at leg slip off Ashwin for 17 as the innings threatened to fall apart.
However, Blackwood played responsibly, inspiring two partnerships - 62 for the fourth wicket with Vishaul and 42 for the fifth wicket with Hodge, whose unbeaten knock lasted nearly two hours.
On 104 for three at lunch, the President's XI lost Vishaul on the brink of the first hour after the resumption, run out attempting a quick single and Blackwood finally departed when he edged a sweep at Ashwin onto his stumps at 174 for five.
Rahkeem Cornwall, the first innings top-scorer, then struck six fours in a lively 21 off 32 balls, combining with Hodge in a 39-run, sixth wicket partnership, to keep the innings going well after the tea break.