Jason Holder and Joshua da Silva gathered purposeful half-centuries and West Indies made a tame start to their tour of South Africa today.
Holder hit the top score of 58 and da Silva was not out on 55, as the Caribbean side reached 283 for nine in their first innings against the South Africa Invitational XI at the close on the first day of their three-day, tour match at Willowmoore Park.
A handful of other batsmen had starts without carrying on, but West Indies needed the pair to put on 96 for the sixth wicket after they were sent in to bat and wobbled to 124 for five, though none of the home team’s bowlers posed a significant threat.
Left-hander Raymon Reifer added 32, Roston Chase made a run-a-ball 30, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite got 25, and Devon Thomas supported with 21, but the visitors’ batsmen were jolted back to reality after their three-week safari in Zimbabwe.
Holder struck nine fours and one six from 64 balls before he gave a return catch to left-arm spinner Bryce Parsons in the first hour after tea, after he and da Silva carried West Indies past the 200 mark.
Da Silva, whose 129-ball knock includes half-dozen boundaries, propped up the bottom half of the batting and shared a valuable 47-run partnership with Chase to take the Caribbean side past 250 before three wickets fell for two runs in 12 balls to undermine their work.
Off successive balls, Chase was lbw to pacer Irvin Modimokoane, who also got Reifer caught behind driving loosely at a delivery that was angled across him when the left-hander returned to bat after falling ill earlier in the day.
Pacer Corbin Bosch, son of late South Africa fast bowler Tertius Bosch, added the scalp of Alzarri Joseph caught behind for a fourth-ball duck, edging a lifter, and da Silva and Trinidadian compatriot Shannon Gabriel batted through the remainder of the day to ensure the visitors were not bowled out.
Earlier, West Indies were set back when left-handed opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul was caught at mid-off for one off Thando Ntini, son of former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, in the first hour of the day.
Brathwaite ground out practically the remainder of the morning session with Reifer before he was caught behind, playing defensively forward to the penultimate delivery before lunch from left-arm spinner Smangaliso Nhlebela.
After lunch, Reifer was forging a solid third-wicket stand with Thomas when he was forced to retire ill.
Thomas fell a few overs later when he drove loosely at an arm ball from Nhlebela and was bowled, and Jermaine Blackwood stayed long enough to carry West Indies past 100 with left-hander Kyle Mayers before he was bowled for nine, playing across a well-pitched delivery that moved back.
Mayers departed five overs later when Invitational XI captain Wihan Lubbe, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, trapped him lbw for 17 with a flat, fast, full delivery, bringing Holder to the crease.
Bosch ended the day with 2-20 from 12 overs, Modimokoane took 2-35 from 10 overs, and Nhlebela grabbed 2-70 from 19 overs.
The match is the only outing for West Indies before the first of two Tests against hosts South Africa, starting next Tuesday at SuperSport Park in Centurion. (CMC)