Spinner Amit Mishra shone with four wickets but the Indian fast bowlers were far from impressive as their two-day warm-up match against West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI ended in a draw in Basseterre.
Shai Hope’s unbeaten century was the highlight of West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI innings on the second and final day of the opening practice game. WICB Board President’s XI were 281 for seven when play was called off. Hope, who has so far played six Tests for the West Indies, spent 355 minutes at the crease while facing 229 balls. The 22-year-old’s knock at the Warner Park featured 15 fours.
Leg-spinner Mishra was only bowler to have impressed, returning figures of 4/67, after India declared at their overnight score of 258 for six. Due to overcast sky and intermittent showers, the opportunity was there for the Indian seamers to exploit the conditions, but they let it slip with with their inconsistent showing.Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, returning to competitive cricket after a long injury lay-off, began the proceedings on the right note. Kumar manged to get the red cherry to swing both ways and dismissed WICB Board President XI skipper Leon Johnson.
On the other hand, Shami worked up good pace and tested the batsmen outside the off-stump. However, suddenly, the visiting bowlers seemed to have lost their plot and looked direction-less. They bowled too wide outside the off stump, and the batsmen Hope and Rajendra Chandrika had no hesitation in leaving them. Balls straying down the leg were easily knocked off for runs, prompting captain Virat Kohli to introduce Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
Both the bowlers were inconsistent and could not get a breakthrough, though Umesh bowled one beautiful delivery that jumped and jagged back at the batsman from short of length. As soon as he was brought in for a short three-over spell before lunch, Mishra got good purchase from the slow pitch and troubled the batsmen by bowling the googly sporadically.
He nearly had Hope in front and after lunch, induced an edge off Chandrika, which fell short of the first slip. The home team batsmen were in doubts – whether to play the leg-spinner on the front or backfoot. And Mishra took advantage of that, having Chandrika stumped in the second session. In the next ball, Mishra sent back Jermaine Blackwood in the same manner, leaving him in with a hat-trick chance.
Mishra got two more wickets, while the seamers Kumar, Shami and Umesh picked up a wicket apiece. Ishant was the only bowler to go wicketless. The two teams will play another warm-up game at the same venue from July 14 to 16 before India take on the West Indies in the first Test to be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua, from July 21 to 25.
Brief scores: India 258/6 decl in 93 overs (Rohit Sharma 54 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 51, KL Rahul 50; Jomel Warrican 2-61) vs West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI 281/7 in 87 overs (Shai Hope 118 not out, Rajendra Chandrika 69; Amit Mishra 4/67).