KOLKATA, India (CMC):
Half-centuries from Chris Gayle and compatriot Marlon Samuels rounded off a reassuring performance from the West Indies, as they drew their tour match against Uttar Pradesh (UP) here yesterday.
Both batsmen used the relaxed atmosphere to explore the range of their stroke-play, scoring 58 apiece, as the Windies, leading by 94 on first innings, reached 199 for five in their second innings when the three-day contest was brought to a close at the Jadavpur University Complex.
The visitors had found out the hard way how merciless the conditions that lie ahead could be, when the bottom half of the UP batting plundered easy runs, as the home team finished on 372 for nine declared, replying to West Indies' first innings total of 466, with Parvinder Singh completing his 10th first-class hundred of 112.
Left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cotterell was the pick of the Windies bowlers, grabbing 3-65 from 19.3 overs, left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul supported with 3-124 from 33 overs and Tino Best collected 2-77.
Gayle, anxious to spend some quality time at the crease after being dismissed cheaply in the first innings, slammed 11 fours from 49 balls in just over an hour.
The opener put on 68 for the first wicket before fellow left-hander Kieran Powell became the first victim of 4-72 from 14 overs for Piyush Chawla, the former India leg-spinner and UP captain, and Gayle also surrendered to a return catch to the second delivery from the same bowler after the regional side resumed from their tea-time total of 85 for one.
Similarly, Samuels too, had promised much in the first innings before he was dismissed and batted with typical nonchalance the second time around, striking nine fours and one six from 47 balls in just under an hour.
He put on 84 for the third wicket with wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin, whose 41 from 53 balls in 45 minutes contained five fours and one six and also gave him precious time in the middle which he also lacked from the first innings.
They were dismissed within six balls of each other, when Samuels skied Arish Alam to long-on and Ramdin was caught at deep mid-wicket off Chawla, who also had Darren Sammy caught at long-on for eight before Permaul joined Narsingh Deonarine to bat through until stumps were drawn.
Earlier, Parvinder reached his hundred from 129 balls, when he cut Cotterell through backward point for the 15th of his 17 fours.
He spent a further 15 minutes at the crease frustrating West Indies before he fended a short-ball from the soldier to gully.
A couple spills spoiled the fun for the Windies, as wicketkeeper/batsman Amir Khan and Chawla made the Caribbean side toil either side of lunch, which saw the home team reach 329 for six.
Best made the breakthrough about 20 minutes after the interval, when he had Chawla caught behind for 46 and Permaul squeezed them further with the scalp of Khan for 47 to a slip catch inside the first five minutes of the second hour after lunch.
Today's rest day will be followed by intense practice for the Windies before they face India in the first Test, starting on Wednesday at Eden Gardens on the other side of the city.