MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (CMC) – Fast-bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd hit an astonishing maiden, first-class century to rescue West Indies A on the opening day of their four-day tour match against New Zealand A here yesterday.
A belated inclusion in the touring party due to an injury to veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, 26-year-old Shepherd seized the opportunity with a scintillating 133 as the tourists rebounded to reach 322 all out at Bay Oval.
Windies A were in dire straits at 113 for seven before Shepherd arrived at number nine to blast 14 fours and seven sixes in a robust 154-ball knock in a shade over 2-½ hours.
He was the aggressor in an all-important 199-run eighth-wicket stand with all-rounder Raymon Reifer who made 65 in a supporting role.
In contrast to Shepherd’s fireworks, Reifer faced 162 balls in just over four hours at the crease and punched half-dozen fours.
Highly-rated left-hander Nicholas Pooran had earlier chipped in with 46 and Rovman Powell, 27, but West Indies found themselves undermined by fourth seamer Nathan Smith who claimed three for 37.
Captain and pacer Jacob Duffy, who bowled the new ball, took two of the last three wickets to fall to end with four for 47.
At the close, New Zealand A had reached 10 without loss from the three overs available.
Sent in, West Indies A were quickly in trouble at 14 for two when they lost openers Brandon King and Shayne Moseley cheaply inside the first five overs.
King swished at a rank, long hop from pacer Doug Bracewell and edged to first slip in the second over while the left-handed Moseley edged a forward defensive prod at Duffy low to second slip.
Pooran and Powell then repaired the innings with a 66-run, third-wicket stand to keep West Indies A without further damage inside the hour.
While Pooran struck seven fours off 74 deliveries, Powell smashed a couple of fours and sixes in a breezy 32-ball innings before he was third out, caught by wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver off a rebound from second slip.
Powell’s demise sparked a slide that saw four wickets perish for just nine runs in the space of 41 balls to leave West Indies A reeling on 88 for six at lunch, and when Fabian Allen departed for 19 following a 25-run, seventh-wicket stand with Reifer, West Indies A were in deeper trouble.
But Shepherd and Reifer combined to revive the innings, allowing Windies A to march to tea on 184 without further loss.
Shepherd then counter-attacked in the final session, lashing his first fifty off 76 balls with seven fours and a six before completing three figures off 135 deliveries, with a gentle paddle sweep for a single off off-spinner Cole McConchie.
Reifer raised his 15th first class half-century off 132 deliveries. Shepherd was eventually last out, caught in the deep on the onside off Duffy.