PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Barbadian middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks continued to press his claim for a place in the upcoming Test series against India, with a second consecutive half-century on the opening day of the second four-day “Test” against India A today.
The right-hander hit 53 as West Indies A, opting to bat first at Queen’s Park Oval, reached the close on 243 for five.
Opener Montcin Hodge top-scored with 65, Test vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite hit 36 while all-rounder Raymon Reifer finished unbeaten on 27 and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, 24 not out.
The hosts controlled the opening session courtesy of an 87-run opening stand between Hodge and Brathwaite, who took their side to the interval at 71 without loss.
Both batsmen were ultra cautious and eschewed aggression in favour of occupation of the crease. It meant Hodge batted 190 balls and a shade over four hours, counting eight fours and six while Brathwaite struck three fours and six off 119 deliveries in just under 2-½ hours.
Brathwaite perished after the lunch break, bowled by seamer Sandeep Warrier but Brooks joined Hodge to add a further 62 for the second wicket to take West Indies A to tea on 135 without further loss.
Brooks, who was included in the West Indies squad earlier this year for the England series without making his debut, once again played well in an innings lasting 98 deliveries, 146 minutes and including seven fours.
The 30-year-old also hit a half-century in the opening “Test” in Antigua last week.
However, Windies A suffered a slide following the resumption, losing four wickets for 47 runs to slump to 196 for five.
Hodge perished in the fifth over after the interval, bowled by seamer Mohammed Siraj offering no stroke while Sunil Ambris played back to off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham and was plumb lbw for 12.
Brooks finally departed, driving a firm return catch to seamer Shivam Dube and Jermaine Blackwood made a breezy 20 with two fours and a six before edging a defensive prod at leg-spinner Mayank Markande to Hanuma Vihari at first slip.
In dire need of a partnership, West Indies A got it courtesy of Reifer and Dowrich who counter-attacked in an unbroken 47-run, sixth wicket stand. The match continues tomorrow.