Roach starts to stamp authority
Kemar Roach is smaller than the great West Indian bowlers of the past but faster than he looks. Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Corey Collymore were Roach's childhood heroes and he would like to carry on the tradition by leading the side in the three-Test series against Australia starting next week.
Standing at well under six feet, Roach is a 21-year-old with a reasonably gentle run-up before he explodes through the crease and his slippery deliveries surprised the local batsmen. He regularly hurried Nick Kruger, who carried a headache after being struck on the helmet during his 172, and collected Ryan Broad's edge with a lifting delivery before lunch.
While Roach's 1 for 67 off 23 overs came in the Bulls' hefty total of 4 for 384, he gained frequent plays and misses and was frustrated not to win a couple more calls from the umpires. "That's what cricket is all about - hard days and long days," he said. "I know to work hard to get wickets and I'll bowl all day if I have to. It was tiring but I was accustomed to that, I'm accustomed to bowling a long time. It's not a problem for me."
Roach, who was clocked at 94.5mph [152kph] during the Champions Trophy, was called up for the two Tests against Bangladesh during the players' strike and was the leading bowler with 13 wickets in the lost series. "He just ambles in but then it is on you," Kruger said. "He is quick and he got me with a good one - I have got a bit of a headache."
Kruger felt Roach was holding back too. "He was just ambling in there today," he said. Both Kruger and Wade Townsend, who also scored a maiden century, had some tough moments in the early stages but recovered for a satisfying 243-run stand for the second wicket.
"They came hard at us but we batted pretty well," Kruger said. "It was my day, I had a couple of chances and they were probably recovering from a bit of jet-lag."
The West Indians were not helped by some dropped chances, but Roach expected the performances to improve for the first Test. "There's more cricket to play and that was only one day," he said. "I don't think we will be that bad again."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo