(CMC) – Opener John Campbell failed to ease concerns about his durability and was dismissed early, after solid top-order batting from New Zealand ‘A’ – led by a hundred from Rachin Ravindra – put West Indies bowling under pressure in their three-day tour match yesterday.
Campbell made only four before fellow opener Kraigg Brathwaite, not out on two, and left-hander Darren Bravo, not out on eight, batted through almost half-hour to carry the Windies to 17 for one, in reply to the home team’s first innings total of 308 for three declared, at the close on the first day of the match at John Davies Oval.
The visitors’ batsmen were given an object lesson in occupation of the crease and their bowlers an early indication of the hard toil they may endure in the forthcoming two-Test series against the Black Caps, with a steady 112 from Ravindra that anchored the New Zealand ‘A’ batting.
The Windies think-tank are hoping that they can get solid starts from their openers in the Test series in an effort to blunt the Black Caps’ pace attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, in particular, on typically helpful pitches.
But Campbell failed to reassure them that he can bring more stability to the top of the batting order, when he chased after a wide, short, lifting delivery from pacer Blair Tickner and was bowled, dragging the ball into his stumps, in the second over of the innings.
Bravo came to the crease and soaked up the pressure from the New Zealand ‘A’ bowlers with Brathwaite before he loosened the shackles with a typically fluent cover drive for four off Tickner.
Bravo and Brathwaite batted through the remainder of play and will return today, hoping to get their groove ahead of the Tests.
Earlier, West Indies met defiance from Ravindra and Test batsman Will Young through the first hour, the New Zealand ‘A’ opening pair putting on 43 for the first wicket.
Chemar Holder made the breakthrough, when he had Young caught down the leg-side for 27 from an under-edge at a short ball, three overs after the morning drinks break.
For the next 2 ¾ hours, the Windies bowlers were made to toil on the hard, true pitch, and Ravindra found Test batsman and fellow left-hander Henry Nicholls a stable partner, putting on 155 for the second wicket.
The Caribbean side bowled steadily, but Ravindra and Nicholls resisted to carry the home team to 81 for one at the lunch interval and batted through the entire second session to take them to 198 for one at the tea break.
Left-arm pacer Raymon Reifer broke the stand with the fourth ball after tea, when Nicholls was caught behind for 76, edging a back-foot drive at a rising delivery, and was the same bowler, when Ravindra drove to mid-on for a single to reach his milestone from 173 balls.
Alzarri Joseph removed Ravindra three overs later, when the left-hander miscued a pull and was caught at deep fine leg after batting 4½ hours, facing 187 balls and stroking 10 fours and two sixes.
But the Windies bowlers met another roadblock when Joe Carter joined South Africa-born left-hander Devon Conway and they consolidated for New Zealand ‘A’ with an unbroken stand of 81 for the fourth wicket before captain Cole McConchie ushered them off.
No Windies bowler finished with more than one wicket, and Conway, who became eligible for New Zealand selection in August, was not out on 46 and Carter was not out on 41.
The first Test between the Black Caps and the Windies starts on December 3 at Seddon Park in Hamilton and the second Test begins on December 11 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Before that, the two teams contest three Twenty20 Internationals on November 27 at Eden Park in Auckland, and November 29 and 30 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.