CHELMSFORD, England, CMC – Roston Chase made an enterprising start to his maiden tour of England, leading a trio of half-century makers as West Indies prospered on the first day of their opening tour match against Essex here yesterday.
Sent in at the Essex County Ground, the Caribbean side reached 309 for eight courtesy of Chase’s top-score of 81, opener Kraigg Brathwaite’s 61 and Jermaine Blackwood’s aggressive 59.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich ended the day unbeaten on 28 while brothers Shai and Kyle Hope both got 22 but failed to carry on.
Rookie 20-year-old seamer Callum Taylor (2-33) and left-arm pacer Paul Walter (2-50) ended with two wickets apiece.
Up against an under-strength side with Essex choosing to rest five key players in view of Sunday’s County Championship clash against Yorkshire, the Windies made the most of the opportunity with key batsmen getting among the runs.
They suffered the early loss of Kieran Powell for 15 when the left-hander was bowled by 19-year seamer Sam Cook on his Essex first class debut but Brathwaite then anchored the innings to see the tourists to lunch on 102 for two.
The right-hander put on 36 for the second wicket with Kyle Hope before adding a further 51 for the third wicket with Shai.
Unbeaten on a patient 38 off 91 balls at he interval, Brathwaite lost Shai in the third over following the break – bowled by Walter – but moved to his half-century from 135 balls while adding 44 for the fourth wicket with Chase.
Brathwaite, dropped on 53 by Nick Brown at second slip off 19-year-old pacer Aaron Beard, eventually perished with the score on 150, bowled by Taylor after facing 155 deliveries in nearly 3-3/4 hours at the crease and hitting eight fours.
Chase struck 12 fours and a six off 138 balls in three hours at the crease while Blackwood stroked eight fours and a six in a 70-ball cameo.
At the break, Chase was unbeaten on a cautious 27 from 78 deliveries while Blackwood, in contrast, carved out 21 from a mere 13 balls.
Blackwood entertained afterwards, reaching his half-century off 48 balls while Chase stepped up the pace as well to raise his landmark off 101 deliveries.
Chase was going through the gears when he was bowled by Taylor at 169 for five and 14 balls later Blackwood, who had been caught off a no-ball on 58, perished lbw to captain Ryan ten Doeschate.
They were two of four wickets to tumble for 40 runs in the last session as the Windies lost their way.