West Indians make promising start with bat
West Indians 333 for 4 (Chanderpaul 91*, Deonarine 83*, Powell 64, Bravo 61) v Uttar Pradesh
West Indies' batsmen kicked off their tour to India with promising signs, with four of their top six getting past the half-century mark on day one of the warm-up match against Uttar Pradesh in Kolkata. While Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo couldn't push on after getting set, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Narsingh Deonarine have the opportunity to register confidence-boosting hundreds on day two, going to stumps unbeaten on 91 and 83 respectively. Their 170-run stand for the fifth-wicket meant that the West Indians finished were a comfortable 333 for 4 overnight.
The match, at the Jadavpur University Complex since the first Test will be at the city's main ground, Eden Gardens, began an hour late due to a wet outfield - it has been rainy in Kolkata over the past few days. The West Indians chose to bat, and were dealt an early blow by seamer Imtiaz Ahmed, who bowled Chris Gayle for 18. However, a century stand between Powell and Bravo followed, ensuring the innings didn't veer off track. Both batsmen fell in the 60s, though, Bravo going first, bowled by India discard RP Singh. Powell was out in the following over, also bowled, to offspinner Arish Alam. Marlon Samuels fell not long after, edging behind to give Imtiaz his second success, leaving the West Indians on an uncertain 163 for 4.
That's when Chanderpaul, who was in solid touch for English county Derbyshire in the lead-up to this series - he hit half-centuries in each of his previous three matches - and Deonarine, who has been on the fringes of the Test side but last played in it last August, came together. Their unbroken century stand came at a good clip - over four and a half an over - before the last half hour was lost to bad light.
Bravo, speaking after the day's play, said he grew confident as his innings progressed. "I believe early up I wasn't timing the ball nicely, but as I stayed out in the middle I started to hit the ball nicely so that in itself gave me some sort of confidence," he said. "This is my first competitive game with the red ball [in a while] and I wanted to spend some time out in the middle, to bat a little longer. [Now] I need to go in the nets and make sure my game is in the right way for the first Test."
The Jadavpur University Complex ground was proving to be an ideal practice venue, he said. "The outfield is very fast and it's good to see a lot of fans come out to support the cricket. The wicket is a bit slower, especially pitching the ball back of a length, it's stopping a bit. But we're learning [to cope]."
The West Indians will be hoping the weather cooperates better over the next two days, as this is the only practice game scheduled before the first Test of the two-match series begins on November 6. However, Bravo said they shouldn't be using the "one-match excuse" if they get in trouble in the series. "I believe we have to make do. This [practice game] is all we have. Hopefully the batsmen can capitalise on the starts we get and try their best to spend time out in the middle. It's important we go to the nets and try to pick up our game in the best possible way. At the end of the day we don't need to make the one-match excuse, that's important."