KOLKATA, India (CMC):
West Indies batsmen, led by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, their most experienced, heeded head coach Ottis Gibson's advice and made the most of steady, if not threatening Uttar Pradesh bowling in their tour-match yesterday.
Chanderpaul led a strong batting performance and was unbeaten on 91, sizing up his 68th first-class hundred, as the Windies piled up 333 for four when bad light stopped play half-hour after the scheduled close with 11 overs remaining on the opening day of the three-day match at the Jadavpur University Complex.
Gibson said the previous day that his side needed to wisely use the only match they had prior to the first of two Tests against hosts India, starting next Wednesday at the nearby Eden Gardens - and they obliged him.
Narsingh Deonarine batted with confidence and was the perfect foil for Chanderpaul, his compatriot, fellow left-hander and player from whom he has modelled his game, sharing 170 - unbroken - for the fifth wicket. He was not out on 83.
Kieran Powell, another southpaw, held steady in the opening spot with 64 and Darren Bravo, the fifth of the left-handers in the West Indies top six, was typically smooth with 61.
Chris Gayle (18) and Marlon Samuels (12) were the only two that failed to miss out - victims of a bit of inconsistent bounce from the unfamiliar pitch - but they too, promised much and will no doubt look to make their presence felt when and where it matters most.
Play started an hour later than scheduled due to a wet outfield - but overcast skies gave way to hazy sunshine and West Indies were blessed with first use of a docile pitch and a quick outfield after they won the toss.
Gayle started the show with a crisp straight drive off beanpole fast-medium bowler Ankit Rajpoot and Powell flicked Rudra Pratap Singh, the discarded India left-arm fast bowler, through backward square leg for his first boundary to get off the mark.
Just when it looked like Gayle had anchored himself, he was bowled for 18, dragging on a delivery - from medium-fast bowler Imtiaz Ahmed - that kept a bit low.