It was the first day of a competitive outing and the West Indies, led by the 2.02 metre tall Jason Holder, got a taste of the local climate and pitch conditions and also the quality of the Indian batting.
It was warm and sunny at the Reliance Stadium on Saturday. The pitch was as flat as the home curators prepare for a warm-up match — a perfect setting for Indian batsmen to show their flair for stroke-making, pile up runs and entertain a couple of thousands of cheering spectators. In the end, the West Indies conceded 360 runs at exactly four runs an over before the home side applied the closure of its first innings.
To start with, there was additional interest on how the Test contenders and openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal would shape up against the West Indies fast bowlers, in the event of their captain Karun Nair winning the toss and choosing to bat. As it transpired, everything went the home team’s way, though the teenaged Shaw would regret playing a slash off the West Indies’ most successful strike bowler in recent times, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel. After executing a fine cover drive and a cut shot, Shaw employed the horizontal bat shot and perished, offering a catch to third slip, Shimron Hetmyer. Shaw looked at his bat and walked away; it was a clear error in judgment on the part of the youngster in going after Gabriel operating with the new ball.
Century for Bawne
Like Shaw, the Oval Test debutant, Hanuma Vihari, too, would have been disappointed. He spent nearly one hour in the middle, but made only three off 28 balls before nicking seamer Sherman Lewis to Shane Dowrich. The others, including Mayank Agarwal, Sheyas Iyer, and Ankit Bawne made the most of splendid batting conditions. While Agarwal missed what would have been a satisfying century, Maharashtra’s Bawne worked towards an impressive unbeaten three-figure knock.
Fiercely determined to make the opportunity count in a big way, Agarwal raced to his half century off 73 balls with 12 fours; most of it off Guyanese seamer Keemo Paul and also off Gabriel and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican. He simply thrashed leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo 20 minutes into the second session, hitting four boundary shots in succession. But eventually, he fell to the persevering Bishoo, the leg-spinner who sent down 21 overs and finished with three for 104.
Iyer smashed five sixes on his way to make a dominating 64-ball 61, but Bawne, after a steady start, was in total control of himself and the West Indian attack. He ended the day at an unbeaten 116 (191b, 15X4). Bawne and Iyer put on 113 for the fifth wicket, 48 for the sixth with Smit Patel, and 54 (unbeaten) for the seventh with Jalaj Saxena.
After all, it was a warm-up match and Holder, who took charge of the proceedings from the second session, would have had the satisfaction of bowling 90 overs in under six hours. Gabriel was easily the pick of the bowlers, generating pace and lift off the pitch. On one occasion, he hit Nair on the body. The spinners bowled aplenty and the team’s first choice wicketkeeper Dowrich even took a splendid running catch in the deep to sent back Smit Patel.
- BCCI President’s XI: Prithvi Shaw c Hetmyer b Gabriel 8, Mayank Agarwal c Hetmyer b Bishoo 90, Hanuma Vihari c Dowrich b Lewis 3, Karun Nair c Bishoo b Gabriel 29, Shreyas Iyer c Hetmyer b Bishoo 61, Ankit Bawne batting 116, Smit Patel c Dowrich b Bishoo 15, Jalaj Saxena batting 18, Extras (b-4,lb-5,nb-11) 20, Total (for 6 wkts decl. in 90 overs) 360
- Fall of wkts: 1-17, 2-40, 3-132, 4-145, 5-258, 6-306
- West Indies bowling: Shannon Gabriel 8-1-41-2,Keemo Paul 10-1-53-0,Sherman Lewis 10-6-13-1, Jomel Warrican 18-3-44-0, Devendra Bishoo 21-1-104-3, Roston Chase 12-1-57-0, Kraigg Brathwaite 11-4-39-0.
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