Windies A hoping to shine in home conditions
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (CMC):
West Indies A will be hoping to make home advantage count when they clash with Sri Lanka A in the opening four-day Test of the three-match series at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium today.
In their last meeting in Sri Lanka a year ago, the Caribbean side went down 2-1 in a similar three-match series, and now armed with the advantage of home conditions, are keen on payback for that series defeat.
Captain Shamarh Brooks said his side was upbeat and well prepared, especially following a well-executed training camp in Antigua.
"The players have been pretty excited. We had a camp in Antigua and it went pretty well. It was pretty strenuous, and it was a good blowout for the players coming back off of white-ball matches," Brooks said.
BACK INTO THE GROOVE
"It helped to get them back into the groove of red-ball matches, so it went very well. We arrived last week in Jamaica to complete our preparations for the series.
"We know we lost the 'Test' series the last time the Windies 'A' Team visited Sri Lanka last year, so we are pretty pumped about getting back at them on our home soil."
Several players made their mark on that tour of Sri Lanka, with Brooks, left-hander Vishaul Singh, Jahmar Hamilton and all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall all impressing.
Selectors have retained the core of that squad for the current series and Brooks believes this stability will be one of the keys to any success in the series.
"We have been playing with and against each other for some time, so we should have a pretty good understanding of each other and enjoy each other's company," the stroke-maker explained.
"We have built up a strong camaraderie from the time we assembled for the camp two weeks ago in Antigua, so team unity will be important. We cannot take the Sri Lankans
"There are some pretty good players in their team, especially when you look at the numbers, so sticking together and backing each other will play a vital role in us being triumphant in
Brooks will be looking towards his balanced attack to get the all-important 20 wickets and hurt the Sri Lankans.
The inexperienced fast bowling duo of Reynard Leveridge and Oshane Thomas are expected to lead the attack, with speedster Keon Joseph also in the line-up.
Leg-spinner Damion Jacobs is the front-line spinner while Cornwall, whose off-spin earned him 23 wickets in Sri Lanka last year, expected to feature prominently.
Brooks said he expected the Trelawny pitch to be helpful to the Windies A attack.
"Practising on the surfaces adjacent, it looks like it will be a good pitch," the Barbadian noted.
"It would appear that both the fast bowlers and the spinners can get some amount of assistance from the surface.
"It seems like there will be some bounce for the fast bowlers, once they are prepared to put in the hard work, but I believe we are a well-rounded side, and whatever conditions we are presented, we should be able to adapt and execute."
WEST INDIES A - Shamarh Brooks (captain), Vishaul Singh (vice-captain), Sunil Ambris, John Campbell, Yannic Cariah, Rahkeem Cornwall, Sheldon Cottrell, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Damion Jacobs, Keon Joseph, Reynard Leveridge, Oshane Thomas.
SRI LANKA A - Dhananjaya De Silva (captain), Charith Asalanka (vice-captain), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Sandun Weerakkody, Ron Chandragupta, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Amila Aponso, Malinda Pushpakumara, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Kumara, Vimukthi Perera, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha.