NORTH SOUND, Antigua – A sudden, familiar batting collapse saw West Indies A squander a strong position and leave India A with a straightforward path to victory on Saturday’s final day of the opening four-day “Test” in Antigua.
Cruising at 130 for two in their second innings after having erased the first innings deficit of 84, the hosts stunningly lost their last eight wickets for 50 runs to be all out for 180 on today’s penultimate day at the Vivian Richard Cricket Stadium.
Captain Shamarh Brooks top-scored with 53, Montcin Hodge struck 36 while Roston Chase chipped in with 32 and Jermaine Blackwood, 25, but left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem once again undermined the innings with five for 47 while seamer Siraj Mohammed supported him excellently with figures of three for 38.
Set 96 for victory, India reached the close on 29 for one, requiring only a further 67 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Abhimanyu Easwaran was unbeaten on 23 but he lost opening partner Priyank Panchal for five to the day’s final ball, slapping a short one from off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall to captain Shamarh Brooks at point.
West Indies A had earlier taken the last two India A wickets for 13 runs to wrap up the innings for 312, with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha adding five to his overnight 61 before he was last out.
Fast bowler Miguel Cummins picked up one of the two wickets to fall to finish with the best figures of four for 40.
Montcin Hodge then struck a patient 36 from 91 balls with five fours as he posted 44 for the first wicket with left-hander Jeremy Solozano (11) before both fell to Nadeem in the space of 21 balls, as the Windies A slipped to 51 for two.
Solozano steered Nadeem to captain Hanuma Vihari at first slip and Hodge played down the wrong line and also edged to Vihari in the same position.
However, Brooks and Chase then came together in a 79-run, third-wicket stand which wiped out the deficit and put the hosts in control of the encounter.
Brooks faced 124 balls in just over 2-½ hours and struck five fours while Chase counted two fours and a six in a 92-ball knock.
Chase, searching for consistent form ahead of the international series against the senior Indian team, flirted with a wide ball from seamer Shivam Dube and edged behind before tea. But Brooks put on 29 for the fourth wicket with Blackwood to take Windies A to the break on 150 for three.
When Brooks fell in the fifth over following the resumption, reaching for a drive and edging Nadeem behind, his dismissal sparked an amazing collapse which saw a procession of batsmen in and out of the pavilion as seven wickets went down for 21 runs.
WEST INDIES A 1st Innings 228
INDIA A 1st Innings
(overnight 299 for eight)
P Panchal lbw b Warrican 49
E Abhimanyu c Cornwall b Warrican 28
S Gill c Blackwood b Cornwall 40
*H Vihari c Holder b Cummins 31
S Kona c Holder b Cornwall 0
+W Saha lbw b Cummins 66
S Dube b Holder 71
G Krishnappa lbw b Cummins 6
S Nadeem c wkp Hamilton b Cummins 0
M Markande c wkp Hamilton b Holder 8
Siraj Mohammed not out 0
Extras (b4, lb5, w1, nb3) 13
TOTAL (all out, 104.3 overs) 312
Fall of wickets: 1-61, 2-104, 3-134, 4-134, 5-168, 6-292, 7-299, 8-299, 9-312, 10-312.
Bowling: Cummins 22.3-6-40-4, Lewis 10-2-33-0, Holder 19-1-67-2, Warrican 30-9-69-2, Cornwall 13-3-51-2, Chase 10-0-43-0.
WEST INDIES 2nd Innings
M Hodge c Vihari b Nadeem 36
J Solozano c Vihari b Nadeem 11
*S Brooks c wkp Saha b Nadeem 53
R Chase c wkp Saha b Dube 32
J Blackwood c Vihari b Siraj Mohammed 25
+J Hamilton c Vihari b Nadeem 0
R Cornwall c Gill b Siraj Mohammed 0
J Warrican c Panchal b Siraj Mohammed 11
C Holder lbw b Nadeem 4
M Cummins not out 0
S Lewis did not bat
Extras (b4, lb1, w3) 8
TOTAL (all out, 77 overs) 180
Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-51, 3-130, 4-159, 5-163, 6-163, 7-163, 8-174, 9-180, 10-180.
Bowling: Siraj Mohammed 19-6-38-3, Dube 14-2-40-1, Krishnappa 16-8-32-0, Nadeem 21-7-47-5, Markande 7-1-18-0.
INDIA A 2nd Innings (target 96 runs)
P Panchal c Brooks b Cornwall 5
A Easwaran not out 23
Extras (nb1) 1
TOTAL (1 wkt, 10.3 overs) 29
Fall of wicket: 1-29.
Bowling: Cummins 3-1-9-0, Holder 5-1-19-0, Cornwall 2.3-1-1-1.
Position: India A require further 67 runs for victory with nine wickets remaining.
Toss: West Indies A.
Umpires: D Butler, J Blades.