The 8,000-odd strong crowd at the JNNCE grounds here went berserk whenever one of their heroes rode the boundary, but did not have much else to cheer about. A cautious 117-run stand between Kraigg Brathwaite (82, 202b) and Assad Fudadin (63, 107b) effectively negated home support, and West Indies ‘A’ marched along to 283 for six on the first day of its second ‘Test’ against India ‘A’ on Wednesday.
Apart from a late, brief stutter when the visitors lost both Brathwaite and Fudadin three deliveries, the West Indies ‘A’ line-up faced no threat on a slow pitch.
A huge roar went up as Zaheer Khan began proceedings, but this was followed by long, sober periods as the day wore on. Zaheer, however, had a reason for cheer as he sent down 16 steady overs in his first competitive match in nearly six months. The fast bowler picked just the single wicket, but this match was more a test of fitness, rather than ability with the ball.
Zaheer split his workload into four spells, which included two stints of five overs each. He did not reach full-flight, but there were no signs of discomfort either.
He even delivered a couple of effort-bouncers at Brathwaite, which were left well alone. The 20-year-old Brathwaite got past the early nerves, and was then joined by Fudadin with the score at 98 for three.
The duo showed no urgency, and blocked out all efforts by the Indians to spark a collapse. Brathwaite, however, missed the perfect chance to get to his century when he lost his cool on 82 and nicked a wide long-hop from off-spinner Parvez Rasool.
Fudadin — he was dropped twice, on 12 and 27 — fell leg-before to Bhargav Bhatt immediately after, but the two had already done their bit.
The scores: West Indies ‘A’ (first innings): Kraigg Brathwaite c Kaul b Rasool 82 (202b, 13x4) , Kieran Powell c Kaif b Bhatt 33 (70b, 5x4) , Kirk Edwards st Kaul b Bhatt 18 (15b, 2x4, 1x6) , Narsingh Deonarine lbw b Zaheer 12 (28b) , Assad Fudadin lbw b Bhatt 63 (107b, 7x4) , Leon Johnson (batting) 36 (61b, 8x4) , Chadwick Walton c Kaul b Shami 30 (55b, 5x4, 1x6) , Nikita Miller (batting) 0 (9b) , Extras (lb-2, nb-7) 9; Total (for six wickets in 90 overs) 283.
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Powell), 2-77 (Edwards), 3-98 ( Deonarine ) , 4-215 (Fudadin), 5-215 (Brathwaite), 6-283 (Walton).
India ‘A’ bowling: Zaheer Khan 16-5-44-1, Mohammed Shami 16-2-59-1, Abhishek Nayar 11-4-31-0, Parvez Rasool 26-7-71-1, Bhargav Bhatt 21-2-76-3.