CHELMSFORD, England – Heavy rain from the lunch interval onwards forced the premature abandonment of play on the second day of the three-day tour match at Chelmsford Wednesday, but not before West Indies pace man Kemar Roach had blasted a hole in the Essex top order.
The Barbadian marked his first bowl of the tour with figures of 3 for 17 from a blistering six-over opening spell that helped reduce Essex to 39 for 4 inside 13 overs, with Miguel Cummins also picking up a wicket.
Roach struck three balls after he had unbuckled his pads from helping wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich advance the West Indians’ first-innings score to 338 for 8 in their 100-over allocation. Varun Chopra was first to go with Roach inducing him into a tentative forward prod, the ball flying low into the slips where Kyle Hope snaffled the chance.
Dan Lawrence, batting up the order at No. 3, drove Roach uppishly over the towering figure of Jason Holder at wide mid-off for a boundary soon after he arrived at the crease. But he was never comfortable. Indeed, Lawrence was beaten twice in succession for pace by Roach, guiding the next ball uncertainly wide of the four-man slip cordon for four before departing to the final ball of the over when his off stump was pegged back.
Adam Wheater became Roach’s third victim, retreating so far on to his back foot that the lbw decision was never in doubt. Cummins ten replaced Roach at the River End and trapped Ryan ten Doeschate lbw with his first ball.
Nick Browne watched the carnage from the other end while compiling 16 not out from 52 balls. The opener was characteristically watchful, but he showed some attacking intent in driving Holder past mid-off for his third boundary. He was joined just before the rain by Callum Taylor, who cut Cummins square for four, as Essex limped to 47 for 4 from 17 overs.
“It’s pretty tough to go out there after two years off, getting back into the frame of things and adapting,” Roach, who has played 37 Tests, said afterwards.
“Test cricket is the biggest format of cricket there is [and] two years off is a long time but I’ve been working hard, I’ve done all the right things to be back here so I’ll just go out there, help the younger guys in the team and just put some good performances out there.
“It feels good to actually get out there and get some match practice. The ball came out well today, the rhythm was on and I got a couple wickets so hopefully tomorrow we can go out there and continue the good job we’ve been doing.”
He added: “I’ve been working on making the ball go both ways with the coach Roddy Estwick. I always had it in me but I needed to perfect it a little bit more so I’ve been working on that really hard and today it was perfect.
“My line and length were spot on. That’s where I want to be so I’m going to keep working and building on that.”
Earlier, the West Indies batted out the remaining 10.2 overs of their allocation at the start of the day, taking their overnight 309 for 8 to 338 without further loss. Roach the batsman welcomed Taylor back into the attack with two boundaries in the seamer’s first over, one off his legs, the other through the covers. Dowrich faced 30 more balls in the morning, adding 16 to finish six runs short of a half-century.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
(overnight 309 for eight)
K Brathwaite b Taylor 61
K Powell b Cook 15
K Hope b Walter 22
S Hope b Walter 22
R Chase b Taylor 81
J Blackwood lbw b ten Doeschate 59
+S Dowrich not out 44
*J Holder c Chopra b Dixon 6
D Bishoo c and b Lawrence 4
K Roach not out 12
Extras (b1, nb6, lb5) 12
TOTAL (8 wkts decl., 100 overs) 338
Did not bat: M Cummins.
Fall of wickets: 1-19 2-55, 3-106, 4-150, 5-269, 6-275, 7-292, 8-309.
Bowling: Cook 23-6-57-1, Beard 16-0-65-0, Dixon 17-3-56-1, Walter 15-0-54-2, Nijjar 10-2-38-0, Lawrence 4-2-6-1, Taylor 12-2-44-2, ten Doeschate 3-0-12-1.
ESSEX 1st Innings
V Chopra c K Hope b Roach 0
N Browne not out 16
D Lawrence b Roach 8
+A Wheater lbw b Roach 0
*R ten Doeschate lbw b Cummins 6
C Taylor not out 9
Extras (b4, nb4) 8
TOTAL (4 wkts, 17 overs) 47
To bat: P Walter, A Nijjar, A Beard, M Dixon, S Cook.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-10, 3-19, 4-33.
Bowling: Roach 6-1-17-3, Cummins 6-2-8-1, Holder 5-1-18-0.
Position: Essex trail by 291 runs with six wickets intact.
Umpires: N Cowley, T Lungley.