BRISBANE, Australia, CMC – West Indies were staring a humiliating innings defeat in the face after an all too familiar second innings batting collapse left them hanging by a thread on the penultimate day of their four-day tour match against a youthful Cricket Australia XI here yesterday.
Trailing by 201 on first innings after watching the hosts covert their overnight 245 for four into 444 all out at Allan Border Field, West Indies slumped to 125 for seven at the close, still requiring a further 76 runs to avoid a demoralising defeat.
Captain Jason Holder was unbeaten on 26 and partnered by tail-ender Kemar Roach on nine, with only Devendra Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel to come.
Carlos Brathwaite has so far top-scored with a robust 31, batting at number eight, while opener Rajindra Chandrika and the experienced Marlon Samuels both scored 21.
Of the top six, they were only ones to make it past 15 as two debutants seamers, Ryan Lees and James Bazley, ripped through the West Indies top order to leave the innings in tatters at 59 for six.
The 21-year-old Lees finished with three for 37 and Bazley, only 20, claimed two for 39, while leg-spinner Cameron Boyce picked up two for 56.
The display will be worrying for West Indies ahead of next week’s first Test, especially coming against a side fielding six players on first class debut.
They were in trouble from as early as the fourth ball of the innings when Kraigg Brathwaite perished without scoring, caught at point by Bazley off Lees, without a run on the board.
Left-hander Darren Bravo followed soon afterward for five, nicking a defensive prod at Bazley behind, to leave the tourists on seven for two.
Chandrika, who faced 47 balls and struck two fours, then repaired the innings somewhat in a 29-run, third wicket stand with Samuels who faced 53 deliveries and also counted two fours.
Bazley, however, removed Chandrika to a catch in the slips by substitute Tim Paine and with a run added in the next over, Lees removed Jermaine Blackwood without scoring to a catch at the wicket as the Windies tumbled to 37 for four.
They would be no immediate recovery as Denesh Ramdin, who made 12, and Samuels, fell in successive overs with the score on 59. Ramdin edged a drive to Tom Andrews at gully off Lees and Samuels was trapped lbw to Boyce.
Holder then anchored the two most productive stands of the innings, adding 38 for the seventh wicket with Carlos Brathwaite and a further 28 in an unbroken eighth wicket partnership with Roach.
Brathwaite counter-attacked, smashing three fours and two sixes off 28 balls before he edged a googly from Boyce onto his stumps at 97 for seven.
Holder stood firm, however, and has so far faced 61 deliveries and hit three fours.
Earlier, Matthew Short (76), captain Jimmy Peirson (64) and Bazley (50) all registered half-centuries to frustrate the Windies bowlers.
Short, a 20-year-old right-hander with a single first class game under his belt, struck ten fours and a six in a lively 115-ball knock after starting the day on 26 while debutant Peirson, unbeaten on 42 overnight, hit seven fours in a breezy 77-ball innings.
The pair extended their fifth wicket stand to 94 before being separated when Peirson pulled Carlos Brathwaite to Chandrika at deep mid-wicket.
Short then added 48 for the next wicket with Bazley before he was comprehensively bowled by fast bowler Roach and Gabriel yorked Simon Milenko for two, to send Cricket Australia XI to lunch at 368 for seven.
Bazley, unbeaten on 26 at the break, went on to hit five fours and a six off 89 deliveries in a frustrating 47-run, eighth wicket stand with Andrews who indulged with a cameo 33 off 23 balls.
When Andrews nicked a wide one from Holder to Bravo at first slip to depart, Boyce arrived to inflict more misery on the Windies by hammering three fours and two sixes in gathering an entertaining 32 off 29 balls.
Holder was the best bowler with four for 76 while Carlos Brathwaite ended with two for 93.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 243
CRICKET AUSTRALIA XI 1st Innings
(overnight 245 for four)
J Silk c Ramdin b C Brathwaite 21
J Carder c (sub) b Holder 58
N Stevens b K Brathwaite 46
J Inglis c Bravo b Holder 44
*+J Peirson c Chandrika b C Brathwaite 64
M Short b Roach 76
J Bazley c Roach b Holder 50
S Milenko b Gabriel 2
T Andrews c Bravo b Holder 33
C Boyce c Roach b Bishoo 32
R Lees not out 2
Extras (lb5, nb11) 16
TOTAL (all out, 104.2 overs) 444
Fall of wickets: 1-68 (Silk), 2-82 (Carder), 3-168 (Inglis), 4-193 (Stevens), 5-287 (Peirson), 6-335 (Short), 7-352 (Milenko), 8-399 (Andrews), 9-430 (Bazley), 10-444 (Boyce)
Bowling: Roach 16-1-78-1, Gabriel 21-2-101-0 (11nb), C Brathwaite 23-4-93-2, Holder 22-5-76-4, Bishoo 14.2-0-60-1, K Brathwaite 8-0-31-1.
WEST INDIES 2nd Innings
K Brathwaite c Bazley b Lees 0
R Chandrika c sub (T Paine) b Bazley 21
DM Bravo c wkp Peirson b Bazley 5
M Samuels lbw b Boyce 21
J Blackwood c wkp Peirson b Lees 0
+D Ramdin c Andrews b Lees 12
*J Holder not out 26
C Brathwaite b Boyce 31
K Roach not out 9
TOTAL (7 wkts, 43 overs) 125
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (K Brathwaite), 2-7 (Bravo), 3-36 (Chandrika), 4-37 (Blackwood), 5-59 (Ramdin), 6-59 (Samuels), 7-97 (C Brathwaite)
Bowling: Lees 14-3-37-3, Bazley 14-3-39-2, Boyce 12-1-34-2, Andrews 3-1-15-0.
Position: West Indies require 76 runs to make CA XI bat again.
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: P Gillespie, S Nogajski.