McKenzie, Chanderpaul anchor strong start for WI ‘A’

Half-centries from openers Kirk McKenzie and Tagenarine Chanderpaul enabled the West Indies “A” to make a strong start to their “Test” series against host Bangladesh “A” recently in Sylhet before adverse weather halted their progress.

McKenzie led the way with 86 and and Chanderpaul was not out on 70. The Caribbean side reached 220 for two in their first innings before rain stopped play about an hour early on the first day of the four-day, first-class match at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.

The left-handed pair endured little trouble during their time together and shared 130 for the first wicket to set the foundation for the innings after the visitors won the toss and chose to bat on a typically easy-paced pitch.

Alick Athanaze was not out on 35 and had put on 60 unbroken with Chanderpaul for the third wicket before the weather intervened, and their fellow left-hander and incumbent Test No. 3, Raymond Reiferade made 26 in a solid start from the West Indies “A” top order.

Fresh from his double hundred for the West Indies Academy in the Headley-Weekes Tri-Series, McKenzie gave further proof of his ability during a near three-hour long stay at the crease where he smashed 11 fours and one six from 124 balls.

Chanderpaul and the incumbent opening partner for the West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite batted doggedly for five hours and has struck only 5 fours from 190 balls.

The opening pair carried the Caribbean team to lunch on 74 without loss and continued to plunder the modest Bangladesh “A” attack after the interval before avarice overcame McKenzie and he was caught at long-off, playing an ill-advised lofted drive at a delivery from Saif Hassan.

Reifer strode to the crease and batted solidly for almost 45 minutes with Chanderpaul but he was caught behind about 10 minutes before tea, playing forward at a delivery from pacer Mushfik Hassan that moved away.

West Indies “A” were 160 for 2, and Chanderpaul and Athanaze defied the hosts for another three overs and added only six more runs before tea with the weather starting to close in on the ground.

After the break Chanderpaul continued to grind away, and Athanaze had just started to express himself, striking half-dozen fours from 52 balls, when the weather interrupted play.

West Indies “A” arrived in Bangladesh to play a series of three “Tests.” The other two matches start on May 23 and 30.