Blackwood fifty helps Windies A frustrate India

BECKENHAM, England, CMC – Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood struck a typically breezy half-century to help West Indies A battle to a draw against India A on the final day of their four-day “Test” here yesterday.

Asked to chase an improbable 360 for victory after India A carried their second innings to a mammoth 609 for six declared, West Indies ended on 245 for seven at the Kent County Ground.

The Caribbean side found themselves in early trouble at 28 for two but Blackwood hammered a top score of 61 while opener John Campbell carved out 44 and Sunil Ambris, 42, to turn the innings around.

All-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall got his first meaningful score on tour with 40 while wicketkeeper Devon Smith chipped in with 22.

Seamer Navdeep Saini (2-41), left-arm slow Jayant Yadav (2-73) and off-spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (2-81) all ended with two wickets each.

Windies A lost Chanderpaul Hemraj to the seventh delivery of the innings before a run had been scored, bowled by Saini and when captain Shamarh Brooks also had his stumps rattled by Yadav for nine with the score on 28, the innings was tottering further.

But Blackwood came to his side’s rescue, adding 49 for the third wicket with Campbell before putting on a further 66 for the fourth wicket with Ambris.

The left-handed Campbell was positive in approach, striking nine fours in a 68-ball knock while Blackwood faced 95 balls and counted nine fours in nearly an hour-and-a-half at the crease.

Test batsman Ambris, who notched five fours and a six off 76 deliveries, put on an invaluable 45 with Thomas for the fifth wicket before going bowled by Yadav.

When Thomas fell in the very next over to leave the score on 188 for six, there would have been nerves in the Windies A camp but Cornwall crunched six fours and a six in a 60-ball knock – adding 48 with Reifer – to steady the innings.

The left-handed Reifer’s role was crucial even though he made only 11 not out, as he tied up one end for 1-3/4 hours.

Earlier, captain Karun Nair missed out on a hundred after resuming on 77 when he was dismissed for 93 as India A batted on from their overnight 536 for four.

Seamer Sherman Lewis grabbed both wickets to fall to end with four for 130.

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