At the close of day 1 of West Indies’ much-needed tour match against Victoria XI, the crowd saw West Indies starting things off with a bang but while coming towards the end, getting banged themselves. With 90 overs played on the first day, West Indies managed to put up 303 runs at a cost of 8 wickets.
Losing the toss and being asked to bat, West Indies started their innings off brilliantly. Equal contributions were being given from every top and middle order batsmen. Even though they were losing wickets at regular but long intervals, they managed to keep the scoreboard ticking. The Caribbean boys did a great job in improving their batting front and that was clearly visible. All this great batting suddenly started coming to a tumbling halt when lost their last 5 wickets for just 32 runs.
Jeremy Hart was the one responsible for the sinking of the West Indies ship which was sailing very smoothly in the initial stages. With his 18 overs, he took 4 wickets but was not very economical, when going by Test match standards as he was smacked for 93 runs, when summing up all his overs.
Opening pair of Brathwaite (78 retd. out) and Chandrika (28) were going good during the initial overs. Getting plumped leg before, off a Koop delivery meant, the steady partnership was broken and West Indies lost their first wicket at 47 runs. Marlon Samuels played a racy innings with 45 off just 39 balls. He kept striking the ball while opener Brathwaite held the other held. His 7-boundary innings got over when he edged one back to the keeper. West Indies reduced to 115/2.
A long and ambitious 99-run stand steadied things for West Indies, providing them a solid foundation which they eagerly needed. Both Blackwood and Brathwaite played cautious but smart cricket. They defended the good balls while smacked the poor ones to the fence. Just before reaching their partnership century, Brthwaite decided to let his teammates perform on foreign soil and declared himself out of the first innings at a well-played 78. His 175 ball innings included 9 fours.
Just 12 runs later when West Indies reached 224, they started to tumble. Blackwood started the string when he fell prey to Hart’s leg-break. Failing to interpret the ball, he placed his leg before the wicket when the ball hit his pads. Blackwood’s 102-ball 69 unfortunately came to an end. He hit 7 boundaries while also smashing a six. Hart started wreaking havoc when he got Holder (9), C Brathwaite (4) and Taylor (4) all in their single-digits.
West Indies just threw a great chance of piling up a mountain of runs for the home team to reach as they were quickly brought down to 303/8. With Ramdin (38 n.o.), the only recognized batsman, along with the surprise package Warrican (22 n.o.) playing brilliantly, West Indies would try to extend their first innings lead to a minimum of 350 runs so they could win the psychological battle of 350+ run lead and automatically put the Victoria XI side under pressure even before they started their batting innings.