CHELMSFORD, England – West Indies head coach Stuart Law says the drawn Essex tour game was pivotal in helping the Caribbean accomplish their objectives, as they continued their preparation for the three-Test series against England starting later this month.
The tourists put in a good shift with the bat during the three-day first class contest and also saw their bowlers get a good stint in the field, in what was the first of three tour games before the August 17 start of the Test series.
Middle order batsman Roston Chase got half-centuries in both innings while opener Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood also notched fifties in the first innings.
“We came here with a target of [getting] batsmen to spend some time in the middle [and] our top six have done that,” Law said.
“Roston Chase has had quite a bit of time out there which is great for us but I think everyone has got a bit of time and understood what English wickets and conditions provide. The other guys who didn’t score all the runs they wanted to, [they know] that there are plenty hits in the nets.
“We’ve come here and accomplished what we wanted to and the bowlers had a pretty good hit out too which is good.”
West Indies posted 338 for eight declared in the first innings before limiting Essex to 185 for nine declared. The last two sessions of the second day were washed out.
The Windies, however, suffered a top order slump in their second innings to be tottering on 30 for three before Chase (50 not out) and Shai Hope (46) put on 82 for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings.
Law said while the slide was not a major issue, batsmen needed to quickly come to grips with the English conditions.
“I wasn’t too concerned. The mode of dismissals we’ll talk about as a batting group and we’ll work out what we can and can’t do,” the Australian explained.
“There’s an easy way to score runs here and there’s a hard way so if we continue to learn, continue to ask questions we’re only going to get better but I’m glad like guys like Shai Hope had a decent hit in the middle.
“I think he’s one of our class acts on tour and I’m looking forward to seeing him produce over the next couple weeks as well.”
Law was also quick to praise returning seamer Kemar Roach who bowled superbly to pick up a five-wicket haul, in his first game back for West Indies following a 19-month break.
The right-armer swung the ball prodigiously and caused trouble right throughout the Essex innings.
“[He was] fantastic. It was great to see Kemar back in it,” Law said.
“He’s been away from it for a while but to come back in and make a statement like that with a five-for and not just bowling well but really well, it’s really a good sign.”
West Indies face Kent in their second three-day tour game starting Sunday.