West Indies A team stuttering in first ODI

DAMBULLA—West Indies A made a stuttering start to the opening unofficial One-Day International against Sri Lanka A before rain intervened to end play prematurely at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium here yesterday.

Opting to bat first, the Caribbean side had reached 69 for two in the 13th over, with opener Kyle Hope unbeaten on 28 and Andre Fletcher on seven. The game will be concluded on today’s reserve day.

Head coach Graeme West rued the weather interruption and said West Indies A would need to find their momentum again on what was a good batting track, if they were to put Sri Lanka A under pressure.

“We got ourselves into a good position with some positive batting and we’ll certainly need more of the same tomorrow,” West said afterward.

“It looks a good wicket, [there’s] not much happening for the spinners and it’s pretty slow for the quicks so we need to build around Kyle Hope and Andre Fletcher … and set something up for some of the positive players to come later on in the innings and try and post something that will put the Sri Lankans under pressure.

“They’ve certainly got an experienced and powerful top six themselves so we’ll certainly need a big score to put them under pressure.”

The right-handed Hope put on 40 for the first wicket with Chadwick Walton who made 16 from 12 balls with two fours and a six before falling in the sixth over.

Hope, who has counted four boundaries in a 39-ball innings, then added a further 23 with left-hander Assad Fudadin who scored 14 off 10 deliveries with two fours and a six, before perishing in the eighth over.

The game is the first of a three-match series against the hosts, with Jason Mohammed leading the unit.

West Indies A, under the leadership of Shamarh Brooks, suffered a 2-1 defeat in the three-match, four-day “Test” series which ended last week.

West believes West Indies A have proven they have what is required to play at the highest level but has urged more consistency from the unit, in the wake of their series defeat to Sri Lanka.

West Indies A opened the three-match four-day “Test” series with a loss when they went down by seven wickets in Colombo but rebounded superbly in the second game in Pallekele to pull off a crushing 333-run victory.

However, they failed to keep their momentum and surrendered the series with a disappointing 138-run loss here in the final contest.

“Overall the guys did very well. To win the second game was a fantastic achievement, particularly the size of the victory against a side that was full of guys with Test match experience,” West said.

“The disappointments would be just small periods of play where we made a few mistakes and certainly in the third and final game, we didn’t really learn from the mistakes we made previously.”

He added: “The frustrating part of the final game was that the Sri Lankans didn’t have to play that well to beat us. None of their batters made hundreds [and] of their bowlers the spinners only really got into the game in the final session when we were in a quite a bit of trouble.”

West Indies A got encouraging performances from left-hander Vishaul Singh who struck a excellent 161 in the second “Test”, to finish the series with 324 runs at an average of 64.

Captain Shamarh Brooks was also among the runs, gathering a half-century in every game to finish with 249 runs at an average of nearly 50, while wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton narrowly missed out on a hundred with 99 in Pallekele.

West Indies Under-19 captain Shimron Hetmyer also shone with 94 in the final “Test” here and West said several of the players had done well to advance their causes. “There’s a lot to take forward. A number of the players have certainly demonstrated, following on from good performances in the PCL (Professional Cricket League), that they have the ability and quality to play at the international level,” he noted.

“Overall, we just needed to be a little more consistent in all departments to be a little bit more successful, and (need) for three for four players to really sort of say to the selectors that (they) are worth a place in the Test squad.”—CMC

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