President's XI facing defeat
CAVE HILL, Barbados (CMC):
An inexplicable batting collapse, triggered by Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Lyon, put the WICB President's XI on the verge of defeat against Australia in their three-day tour match yesterday.
No President's XI batsman distinguished himself as Hilfenhaus finished with the flattering figures of four wickets for eight runs from seven overs and Lyon captured four for 17 from seven overs, sending the home team crashing to 98 all out in their second innings, about 35 minutes before the scheduled close at the Three Ws Oval.
The President's XI then failed to make a breakthrough, as Australia, chasing 86 for victory, reached 30 without loss in their second innings at the close on the second day with left-handed opener Ed Cowan not out on 15 and Shane Watson not out on 10.
This followed the dramatic batting collapse from the President's XI, after the President's XI did well to dismiss Australia for 214 in their first innings, despite a top score of 53 from Peter Forrest which included two fours and three sixes from 139 balls in just over two and a quarter hours.
The President's XI were set back early when West Indies opener Kieran Powell was lbw to Hilfenhaus for a duck in the second over, playing back and across to a long hop that never got past his ankle.
Two overs later, Nkrumah Bonner was caught at gully for two off the same bowler, looking to play into the leg side, at 10 for two.
Kyle Corbin came to crease and with Devon Smith brought some stability to the top order, carrying the hosts to 42 for two at tea.
After the break, things started to unravel for the President's XI after Smith was bowled by James Pattinson for 18 playing down the wrong line to have his off-stump extracted.
There was neither substance nor stability from the rest of the batting, apart from the President's XI captain Carlton Baugh Jr, whose 27 not out was the top score.
The middle-order batting crumbled against the spin of Lyon before Hilfenhaus returned to mop up the tail with incisive fast-medium bowling.
Earlier, off-spinner Ryan Austin and Bonner, bowling his part-time leg spin, brought the President's XI back into the match.
They both captured three for 43 from 17 and 11 overs, respectively, after the visitors resumed from their overnight total of 81 for one.
The match is the only warm-up for Australia prior to the three-Test series against West Indies, with the first set to start on Saturday at Kensington Oval, just a few kilometres south of this venue in the Barbados capital of Bridgetown.