Sherwin Campbell, the 29-year-old Barbadian opening batsman who seems to get better with every passing innings, stole most of the limelight when he scored his second hundred of the match as the West Indies` four-day match bustled along to its inevitable draw yesterday.
But the 20-year-old opener from Trinidad, Daren Ganga, gained a fair share of the centre-stage when he scored his first century for West Indies, figured in an opening second innings stand of 196 with Campbell, and was warmly greeted by his team-mates when he returned.
When the start of play was delayed by four hours because of rain, the West Indies` second innings became necessarily a batting exercise.
The Auckland bowlers withered under the punishment inflicted by Campbell`s flashing blade, and from the 47 overs they provided Campbell, Ganga and a brief show from Shivnarine Chanderpaul brought 228 runs without loss.
Soon after reaching his century, Campbell left the field to save further strain on a tender hamstring muscle, but this should not cause joy among the New Zealand bowlers in the first Test which will start at Hamilton on Thursday (tomorrow night Barbados time). Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, said Campbell`s withdrawal was merely a precaution and unless there was further damage when the West Indians train twice before the Test, Campbell will be fit to play.
Campbell, who scored 112 in the first innings, was in murderous form and the Auckland bowlers, so consistently economical in the first innings, took a hammering.
Campbell hit 12 fours in his first 50, which took only 48 balls, and he took another 51 balls to reach his hundred, hitting in all 17 fours and a six. He had one rich stroke of luck, being completely beaten and bowled by a ball from Kyle Mills when he was 13, but the umpire called `no ball`.
Ganga, with scores of 28, 18 and 0 in his earlier tour innings, was not as spectacular as Campbell.
Instead he worked along steadily, and only when his innings was measured at 71 balls for his first 50 and 79 for his second with 14 fours) did we realise the youngster had been working very profitably in Campbell`s shadow.
Afterward Clive Lloyd, the West Indies manager, and Lara were both delighted at Ganga`s return to form.
`Daren toured South Africa where he got a couple of 30`s in the Tests, but then he was not played in the Tests at home,` said Lloyd.
`The fact that he was able to score his first hundred for West Indies today shows that promising players like him need to be kept playing in the West Indies side.`
Ganga`s return to form pleased Lara `for it increased the headache we will have about deciding the batsmen for the first Test team - it is a good feeling that the boys are competing for places in the team.
`Daren is on his second tour. He has just scored his first hundred for West Indies and going into the first Test the more guys we have in form the better.
`Conditions in New Zealand are different from home, more like England in May-June, so it is nice to see the players putting their heads down and getting the runs.`