Sunil Ambris showed the Caribbean flair and did his best to impress the West Indies tour selectors with an electrifying knock in the two-day warm-up match against Board President’s XI at the Reliance Stadium here on Sunday.
His Test career could be revived at Rajkot. The right-hander from St. Vincent had failed to come to terms with the seaming conditions in New Zealand last December and his Test career came to an abrupt halt after two appearances.
On another lovely day here when the conditions were just about perfect for batting, Ambris, coming in at No. 7 made a 98-ball unbeaten 114 with 17 fours and five sixes.
The last of the sixes was actually held by Avesh Khan at long-off, but he lost balance and went over the rope, the resultant six bringing up Ambris’ century.
And once the visitors took the lead (366 for seven), came the declaration and the end of the match.
When the West Indies began its innings, the focus was on its openers. For a little over seven years Kraigg Brathwaite has been a key member of the team.
The West Indies would rely on Brathwaite’s experience to tackle India’s new-ball attack in the two Tests to be played at Rajkot and Hyderabad.
Here, he made a conscious effort to stay put in the middle under a harsh sun, mixed caution with aggression to make 52 before retiring at the lunch break. He had come into this match with a 121 and 110 against Bangladesh.
Brathwaite’s partner, Kieran Powell, offered barn-door defence against the quicks — Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Basil Thampi and Ishan Porel.
While Brathwaite (78b, 9x4) kept sending the seamers and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and off-spinner Jalaj Saxena to the fence, the left-handed Powell waited till the 24th over to lift two straight sixes off Saurabh.
He hit two more boundaries, off Avesh, before retiring at 44 (122m, 102b).
The West Indies resumed post lunch with Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer at the crease, and it was Avesh’s energy and untiring effort that resulted in a wicket.
He had Hetmyer — shaping for an off-side shot — playing on. Soon the Madhya Pradesh medium-pacer trapped Roston Chase leg before. After Avesh’s twin strike, the home team had to wait for another 23 overs and three balls before Hope nicked left-arm spinner Saurabh to the ’keeper. Then, Saxena brought an end to Shane Dowrich’s attractive knock (65, 69b, 9x4, 1x6). Hope and Dowrich added 99 runs, before Ambris took centrestage.
Board President’s XI — 1st innings: 360 for six decl.
West Indies 1st innings: Kraigg Brathwaite retd. hurt 52, Kieran Powell retd. hurt 44, Shai Hope c Smit Patel b Kumar 36, Shimron Hetmyer b Avesh 7, Roston Chase lbw b Avesh 5, Shane Dowrich b Saxena 65, Sunil Ambris not out 114, Jahmar Hamilton lbw b Avesh 23, Keemo Paul lbw b Avesh 0, Jomel Warrican c Bawane b Saurabh 9, Sherman Lewis not out 8; Extras (lb-1,w-2): 3; Total (for seven wkts decl. in 89 overs): 366.
Fall of wickets: 1-105, 2-111, 3-210, 4-214, 5-264, 6-266, 7-279.
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