LUCKNOW, India – West Indies spin duo Jomel Warrican and Rahkeem Cornwall exploited friendly conditions to combine for nine wickets as the Caribbean side took control of their tour match against an Afghanistan Cricket Board XI today.
Left-armer Warrican snatched five for 38 and off-spinner Cornwall, four for 54 – two accurate and unrelenting spells which saw the hosts crumble for 158 in their first innings and concede a 10-run lead to the Windies.
Opener Javed Ahmad converted his overnight 21 into a top score of 56 but no other batsman shone.
Sunil Ambris then slammed a stroke-filled 66 while Roston Chase fashioned a patient 57 as West Indies reached 217 for seven in their second innings at the close.
Left-hander Shimron Hetmyer yet again got a start with 30 while Shai Hope got 20, but opener John Campbell (17) failed again along with Shamarh Brooks (7). Hamza Hotak again led the attack with three for 59 while fellow left-arm spinner Zia-ur-Rehman picked up two for 54.
Resuming the second day at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Stadium on 49 for three, the Board XI started strongly as Ahmadi added 41 for the fourth wicket with Asghar Afghan (10).
But Warrican and Cornwall quickly became acclimatized to conditions and asserted themselves, scything through the middle and lower order as the Board XI lost their seven wickets for 68 runs.
Cornwall looked menacing throughout his 22-over spell and got generous turn while Warrican, who has played seven Tests, demonstrated immaculate control in his 23.1 overs.
Warrican’s fifth wicket was the highlight of the day – Cornwall pulling off a tremendous low catch at first slip to dismiss Hotak to end the innings 20 minutes after lunch.
Speaking to CWI Media at the ground after the day’s play, Warrican expressed great satisfaction with his performance and indicated he was eagerly looking forward to next week’s one-off inaugural Test.
“We had a plan to bowl them out under our total, so we were very clear in our minds what had to be done out there today, especially in the morning session,” the 27-year-old said.
“They started at three wickets down for about 50 runs, so we were playing with just over 100 runs … things had to be very tight.”
He continued: “The pitch helped us as spinners but as the ball got older it got softer, so you had to very disciplined and be patient. I did that today and that brought me the five wickets.
“You had to vary your pace and work with what was available. I thought I did that really well and I believe I’m in the right frame of mind for when the Test starts next week.”
In their second turn at the crease, West Indies lost Brathwaite in the second over without scoring, caught by the keeper low down in front of first slip off seamer Nijat Masood.
Campbell was then trapped in front by Hotak after adding 39 for the second wicket with Ambris, paving the way for a 76-run, third wicket stand between Ambris and Chase.
Ambris, promoted to number three, dominated the bowling in an enterprising 69-ball knock which included 11 fours and a six – a blow which easily cleared the 75-metre boundary at long-off by about 20 metres.
Chase, meanwhile, continued his solid form with seven fours in an innings requiring 110 balls and spanning two-hours and 20 minutes either side of the tea.
The match will conclude with Friday’s third day after both teams agreed to reduce the fixture from four days.
SUMMARISED SCORES: West Indies 168 (Kraigg Brathwaite 48, Shimron Hetmyer 38, Shai Hope 26, Shane Dowrich 23; Hamza Hotak 4-34) and 217 for seven (Sunil Ambris 66, Roston Chase 57, Shimron Hetmyer 30; Hamza Hotak 3-59)
Afghanistan Cricket Board XI 158 (Javed Ahmadi 56; Jomel Warrican 5-38, Rahkeem Cornwall 4-54)