(CMC) – Shai Hope hit an aggressive unbeaten half-century to follow up Roston Chase’s four-wicket haul as Cricket West Indies (CWI) President’s XI dominated Sri Lanka on the opening day of their two-day match here yesterday.
Replying to the tourists’ 172 all out at Coolidge Cricket Ground, the President’s XI reached the close on 103 for one with Hope unbeaten on a stroke-filled 60 off just 72 deliveries. Vying for a place in the Test side after being dropped for the tour of New Zealand last December, Hope oozed class to continue his heavy scoring from last week’s ODI series, counting 10 fours and two sixes.
Left-hander Darren Bravo, with Sunday’s start of the first Test in mind, ended on a compact 30 not out off 69 deliveries, and has so far put on 94 for the second wicket with Hope.
Chase had earlier picked up four for 12 as Sri Lanka collapsed from 137 for five to lose their last five wickets for 35 runs in quick time.
Oshada Fernando top-scored with 47, veteran Dinesh Chandimal struck 40 while Pathum Nissanka, on his first-ever international tour, made 23.
Sri Lanka were never allowed to settle, as rookie fast bowler Anderson Phillip snatched three for 47 and veteran seamer Kemar Roach, two for 41, to hurt the innings early on. Roach removed both openers in successive overs, getting left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne to play around a full-length delivery and gaining an lbw decision in the day’s third over before having captain Dimuth Karunaratne (2) caught at first slip by Kyle Mayers after Chase at second slip parried the initial offering.
Fernando then added 30 for the third wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva who made 17 from 23 deliveries before pulling a short ball from Phillip to Roach at square leg, and when Roshen Silva gloved a lifter from the same bowler and was taken by wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton diving to his right, Sri Lanka were slumping on 51 for four.
Fernando and Chandimal combined in a 53-run, fifth-wicket stand to stitch up the innings and allow Sri Lanka to reach lunch on 74 for four.
The right-handed Fernando faced 90 balls in a shade over two hours at the crease and struck seven fours while Chandimal hit half-dozen fours off 76 balls in just under 1-¾ hours. When Phillip broke the stand by removing Fernando to a catch at the wicket, Chandimal found a partner in Nissanka to add a further 33.
Chandimal’s dismissal, however, holing out to deep mid-wicket off Chase, triggered the slide that saw a swift end to the innings.
The President’s XI suffered the early loss of Shayne Moseley for six, the left-hander nibbling at one from fast bowler Suranga Lakmal and falling to a catch at the wicket. Hope then took charge, producing an array of flowing drives and leg slide glances before reaching his half-century off 60 balls with the second of his two sixes – a clean strike over long-on off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya.
He celebrated the next ball by stylishly piercing cover and point off the back foot for his 10th four and Bravo joined in with a couple of his six boundaries before the close, as the President’s XI ended strongly.