Athanaze, Da Silva get into gear for Test battle

West Indies’ Joshua Da Silva hits a four from the bowling of England’s Jack Leach during day three of their third Test cricket match at the National Cricket Stadium in St. George, Grenada, Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Associated Press/Ricardo Mazalan, file

Alick Athanaze and Joshua Da Silva warmed up with unbeaten half-centuries for West Indies before the opening match on their tour of England against the First-Class Counties Select XI ended in a draw.

Athanaze was not out on 66 and Da Silva was not out on 51 when West Indies declared their second innings on 196 for five on the final day of the three-day match at the Kent County Cricket Ground.

The Counties Select XI were 30 for two in their second innings when stumps were drawn in the match after they had to target 163 to win in the final session of play.

Uncapped pacer Jeremiah Louis, who replaced injured Kemar Roach in the West Indies squad for the tour, then got opener Harry Singh caught behind for a 12-ball duck, and Johann Layne, got Jamal Richards caught behind for six before the two teams decided it was futile to continue.

CWI Director of Cricket; Jimmy Adams.
CWI Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams. Associated Press / Max Nash, file

“Barring a bit of adverse weather, we have managed to get a lot of solid cricket played over the last three days, so we are generally happy with what has happened on the tour so far,” West Indies Assistant Coach, Jimmy Adams told CWI Media.

“What we would have wanted to get from the time spent out in the middle, we have gotten. The weather has been kind to us, we know that it could get a little bit rough [in England], but all in all, we are very happy with what the weather has allowed and the facilities we have been given, and what the guys have been able to produce.”

“I think it is important that they [the batsmen] get as much ‘live’ practice as they can in conditions that a lot of them are not familiar with,” Adams added.

“I would say that irrespective of anywhere they have traveled outside of the Caribbean, a lot of them have not toured England before — some have — but a lot of the batters haven’t, so [this tour match] was an opportunity for them to get as acquainted with conditions as possible before they run into the international opposition, and I think they have done it pretty well.”

Earlier, Athanaze and Da Silva shared 91 for the sixth wicket with the visitors set to continue from their overnight total of 57 for 2.

Opener Mikyle Louis made 28 and was one of three wickets that fell in the span of half-hour and they were 105 for 5e.

But Athanaze led the resistance for the Caribbean side belting 11 fours from 99 balls, and Da Silva smashing half-dozen fours from 69 balls in an hour-and-a-half.

Athanaze reached his 50 from 62 balls. Da Silva arrived at the landmark from 68 balls when he pulled off-spinner Farham Ahmed, younger brother of England teenaged leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, for his final boundary before the declaration came during the rescheduled tea break.