West Indians bruised by Kruger & Co
Queensland 4 for 384 (Kruger 172, Townsend 100) lead West Indians 271 by 113 runs
The West Indians' tour is less than a week old but Australia so far have little to fear after the visitors' performance over the first two days against Queensland. While tour matches are often unfair gauges of a side's capabilities, this inexperienced squad has struggled to create highlights against a state side full of fresh faces and is destined for more exacting workouts in the three-Test series.
After recording 271 in their first innings, the West Indian bowlers were punished by a pair of inexperienced batsmen, just as they were troubled by a green attack yesterday. Nick Kruger and Wade Townsend scored their maiden first-class centuries and put on 243 for the second wicket as the Bulls trampled to 4 for 384 at stumps.
Kruger, who is appearing in his 13th first-class match, overcame a difficult start to blast 172 in an innings that became brutal once the ball grew old while Townsend, playing his fourth fixture, registered an even century. The tourists had a handful of chances, but were restricted to four successes during three sessions in muggy conditions.
Roach and Dwayne Bravo caused some problems for Kruger at the start of the day, but he showed his muscle after lunch when he attacked the spinners Sulieman Benn and Narsingh Deonarine. There were five sixes sprinkled in the trees at long-on and long-off and he also picked up 20 fours during his 205-ball display. Deonarine, the offspinner, was launched out of the ground in consecutive balls after Kruger had raised his 150.
There were moments of fortune for Kruger, who was dropped by Adrian Barath at midwicket on 91 and missed on 40 by Ramnaresh Sarwan, who leapt to his left in the slips. Travis Dowlin was also unlucky to spill a chance at long-on when he was going over the rope and couldn't capture his lob back into the field. Kruger, who was 125 on that occasion, was finally caught by an athletic take by Ravi Rampaul at long-on aiming for another clearance off Benn just before tea.
Townsend was watchful at the beginning but grew in confidence as the attack wilted. While he was also aggressive against Neonarine, hitting him for a six, he slowed as his century neared and departed soon after, finding the boundary 12 times during his 242-ball occupation. Nathan Reardon joined in late in the afternoon with 45 not out while the wicketkeeper Chris Hartley was unbeaten on 10.
There was little for the tourists, who lost their captain Chris Gayle before the toss, to cheer as they attempted to fine-tune ahead of next Thursday's opening Test at the Gabba. Roach, a lively right-armer from Barbados, delivered a strong first spell and had Kruger in trouble a couple of times, hitting him in the helmet and also brushing his arm on the way through to Denesh Ramdin.
He followed up by claiming Ryan Broad (29) in the morning to a faint edge to have the hosts 1 for 53, but the 21-year-old was unable to do any more damage despite a lot of trying. Often frustrated at his inability to convince the umpire to raise his finger, Roach was the most consistent of the attack and returned 1 for 67 from 23 overs.
Bravo began the morning with ten testing overs that cost 24 runs and came back for a couple more stints without breaking through. Rampaul, the other possible new-ball operator in this line-up, picked up Townsend to a caught-behind but did struggle with his line, although he may improve with some more work.
The extra bounce of Benn, the left-arm spinner, could be tricky but both the spinners were treated harshly at times. Deonarine had Lee Carseldine (6) caught at slip in his 1 for 74 off 21 overs while Benn had 1 for 79 from 22. The conditions offered something to the bowlers and the pitch isn't as lifeless as usual, but the visitors have been out-shone by a collection of Queensland's lesser lights.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo