WI face challenging run chase
CANBERRA, Australia (CMC):
West Indies made a strong start, but were still facing a challenging run chase on today’s final day of the four-day, ‘pink-ball’ tour match against the Australian Prime Minister’s XI.
Set 309 for victory at Manuka Oval, the touring side closed on 35 without loss with captain Kraigg Brathwaite unbeaten on 19 and rookie Tagenarine Chanderpaul on 15, still needing a further 274 runs for victory.
Both batsmen played positively, Brathwaite nailing a number of crisp drives down the ground and Chanderpaul finding the square boundary on the off side a couple of times.
“It was good to bat out the day for our team and obviously tomorrow we have a big job,” Brathwaite said afterwards.
“We won’t focus on results right away [tomorrow]. The first hour is very crucial. Once we do the simple things right, we set ourselves up at the end of the day.
“It’s still a good pitch to be honest, but the Prime Minister’s XI bowled well. So we know we have to work hard. If we bat normally, we can still score at three runs per over, which is good.
“But we can’t get carried away. We can’t just say the pitch is good and we’ll score. We have to go out there and work hard. We know they’re going to come hard, especially in the first session so we’ve got to come and put our heads down and fight.”
West Indies’ tail folded disappointingly at the start of yesterday’s penultimate day, adding a single run, a no-ball. Overnight batsman Alzarri Joseph (14) and Jayden Seales fell in successive overs, with all-rounder Raymon Reifer unavailable to bat.
Opener Matt Renshaw then slammed an unbeaten 101, his 17th first-class hundred, as the Prime Minister’s XI put West Indies’ bowlers under pressure in marching to 221 for four declared in their second innings.
West Indies struck early when seamer Seales pierced Marcus Harris’ defence to bowl him for five at the start of the sixth over and fast-bowler Joseph had Henry Hunt caught at the wicket for two, slashing at a short wide ball three overs later.
Tottering at 13 for two, the Prime Minister’s XI recovered through Renshaw who added an invaluable 145 for the third wicket with Peter Handscomb who made 75.
The left-handed Renshaw, who hit a half-century in the first innings, faced 218 deliveries and counted nine fours while Handscomb, a right-hander, punched half-dozen fours in a 138-ball knock.
Brathwaite got the breakthrough with his part-time off-spin, bowling Handscomb as the right-hander missed a heave, but Renshaw further frustrated West Indies by adding a further 35 for the fourth wicket with captain Josh Inglis (15).