One-off Test, Day 2: Shamarh Brooks, spinners give Windies the upper hand

Brooks scores a gritty century before Rahkeem Cornwall and Roston Chase run through the Afghan batting line-up.

Shamarh Brooks (left) celebrates his first Test century, at the Ekana International Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Shamarh Brooks, after years of toil in the domestic circuit, made his Test debut earlier this year against India. The 31-year-old batsman, however, had a torrid series, just scoring 63 runs in four innings, including a 50 in the second innings of the second Test in Kingston.

Brooks, though, made amends here with a gritty knock of 111 — his first Test century — against Afghanistan on Thursday, taking the West Indies closer to victory.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Afghanistan spinners spun a web, but Brooks stood firm, hitting 15 boundaries and a six in his resolute knock. He ensured that Afghanistan reached 277 in the first innings, a lead of 90 runs.

In the second innings, Afghanistan suffered another middle-order collapse and ended the day on 109 for 7 — a slender lead of 19. Javed Ahmadi tried his best to steady the ship, scoring 62, but it wasn't enough for Afghanistan as none of the top batsmen stepped up.


Taking advantage of the spin-friendly track, Rahkeem Cornwall and Roston Chase scalped three wickets each to run through the Afghan batting line-up.

With a three-day finish on the cards, the Afghanistan camp would be disappointed with its approach in the second innings. At a time when it was necessary for the middle-order batsmen to hold fort, they failed to show intent and meekly surrendered to Cornwall and Chase. On the eve of the game, Afghanistan coach Lance Klusener had spoken about setting “smaller targets” in a bid to get accustomed to the new format. But over the last couple of days, his side failed to execute the plans.

Maiden five-wicket haul for Hamza

After being bundled out for 187 in the first innings, Amir Hamza Hotak grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul to trouble the West Indies batsmen, but his efforts meant very little in the end as the visiting side managed to gain the upper hand. With the track aiding the spinners, Rashid Khan and Zahir Khan, too, grabbed three and two wickets respectively, but Brooks, who batted almost till the end before being cleaned up by Hamza, made sure his team took the crucial lead.

Read | Unmemorable return to Test cricket for Lucknow

Having risen to fame from junior cricket, Brooks represented West Indies U-19 in the 2006 World Cup, and his tactical acumen earned him a captain’s cap for the Barbados U-19 team in 2007. But inconsistency cost him dear and the talented batsman had to wait for more than a decade to break into the national side.

This is just his third Test outing and after this century against a star-studded Afghan spin-attack, the Barbadian would hope it becomes a turning point in his career.

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