Sri Lanka are 46-2 at the end of the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Wednesday, still three runs behind the visitors in a match that is delicately poised heading into Thursday’s fourth day.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has admitted it was a tough situation for debutant Jeremy Solozano who was forced out of the opening Test after sustaining an injury.

Solozano, who was expected to partner Brathwaite at the top of the order, had to be stretchered off on the first day of the opening Test after being hit flush on the helmet by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

The young batsman was taken to the hospital for scans and remained overnight for observation, but the tests showed no further damage.  The player will, however, remain on concussion protocol for the next few days.  Solozano was replaced in the line-up by Shai Hope.

“It was a tough situation, but at least we heard he’s doing good, his scans came back good, and we’ll be supporting him 100 percent,” Brathwaite said.

As per CWI’s concussion policy, Solozano is expected to miss a minimum of seven (7) days. During this time, he will be monitored and evaluated before he can return.  The second match between the teams will take place between November 28 and December 3.

 

 

West Indies were in a world of trouble at the end of day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle on Monday. Chasing a target of 386, the West Indies slumped to 113-6 at stumps still 273 runs behind on a day that promised much but instead descended into disaster.

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite claims the team is eager to buck the trend of typically poor performances in Sri Lanka when the teams meet in Galle later this week.

Since 1994, the teams have played 10 series between them, with the West Indies winning two and Sri Lanka winning three.  The rest have ended in draws.  None of the West Indies wins have come in Sri Lanka.  In fact, the West Indies are yet to win a match in Sri Lanka and suffered a 2-0 loss on their last visit in 2016.

Brathwaite believes the current squad, who did experience some success on the continent in February with a win over Bangladesh, is capable of finally breaking this long-running trend.

“I was here in 2016, my first series here and we lost both matches.  As a youngster it didn’t feel good just coming into the team.  Now I’m looking forward to these games, I think we have a very good team,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“This team is ready to go, and we are ready to break the shackles and win some games in Sri Lanka this time around,” he added.

The West Indies face Sri Lanka in a two-Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons and Captain Kraigg Brathwaite have both backed wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva to return to form during the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka later this month.

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite is expecting a strong performance from the team’s pace bowlers in Sri Lanka, despite conditions on the subcontinent tending to favour spin bowlers.

The last time the regional team faced Sri Lanka away, in 2015, it was the part-time spin of Brathwaite that stole of as the batsman claimed six wickets in an innings.  The frontline pace bowlers Kemar Roach (2), Jason Holder (3), Shannon Gabriel (1) failed to have a huge impact on the series, with the exception of Jerome Taylor who claimed 6 over two games.

Although the captain admits the surface is likely to favour spinners, Brathwaite is confident the Windies quicks will have a big role to play.

We haven’t been there as yet to see the surface but there’s always a role for the fast bowlers.  Shannon Gabriel really led the way in Bangladesh in the first Test, bowling with some good pace, then Kemar Roach getting an early wicket in the morning was very crucial.  Obviously, Jason wasn’t there but is always crucial.  So, I do believe that possibly there being spin-friendly pitches, I think the pace bowlers will do well.

“I can see them getting wickets.  It’s really about building pressure but seamers are very important and obviously, Shannon will bring some aggression and I look forward to seeing the guys operating.”

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel today announced the West Indies squad for the Test Series in Sri Lanka.

The Selection Panel named one uncapped player in the 15-member squad – Jeremy Solozano, the left-handed opening batsman – following the two recent three-day Best v Best matches and training sessions at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

Roger Harper, Lead Selector said: “The Best v Best matches provided the opportunity for the players to spend some time in the middle honing their skills for this tour. The aim was to simulate as much as possible, the conditions that the team will likely face in Sri Lanka, so it was good to see the batsmen spending time at the crease while putting some scores together and the bowlers looking to build pressure and create wicket-taking opportunities,” Harper said.

“Jeremy played for the West Indies ‘A’ Team in 2019 (against India ‘A’) with success and in the Best v Best matches he displayed a sense of application, patience, and composure while looking very comfortable against both pace and spin which encouraged the panel to invest in him at this point.”

Harper added: “The squad is well balanced, with good depth in all departments. The composition is very similar to the squad that brought us success in our last away tour to Bangladesh, with a few changes in personnel. There are a number of players who are familiar with Sri Lankan conditions and most of the others have good experience in the Indian sub-continent, so they know what to expect and are gearing themselves for it.”

Both Test matches will be played at the Galle International Stadium. West Indies will have a four-day warm-up match in Colombo from November 14 to 17. The Tests will follow on November 21 to 25 and November 29 to December 3.

The series is the second of six series, three at home and three away, that West Indies will play in the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship. Please see ICC World Test Championship table here: https://bit.ly/3EcJXpV

 FULL SQUAD

Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Jeremy Solozano, and Jomel Warrican.

Half-centuries from Shai Hope and Jeremy Solozano proved to be the foundation for Team Brathwaite’s first innings score of 280-4 at stumps on the first day of the second BestvBest match against Team Blackwood at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua on Monday.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who opened the batting with Solozano, also scored a half-century before he retired hurt after he and Solozano had taken Team Brathwaite to 98-0 at lunch. Brathwaite faced 118 balls and struck six fours and a six but did not return to the crease after lunch.

Solozano, who was on 34 at the interval, and Shamarh Brooks took the score to 120 when the latter was dismissed by Nial Smith for 11. Solozano eventually got out to the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall for 74.

Hope, who had joined Solozano and the crease after Brooks’ dismissal, eventually retired on 71. Kyle Mayers scored 45 before he was dismissed by Jayden Seales for 45.

Joshua Da Silva (10) and Alzarri Joseph (0) are the batsmen at the crease at stumps.

Seales was the best of the bowlers with 2-28.

 

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel announced the squads for the upcoming Best v Best men’s red-ball matches.

The panel named 24 players for two three-day fixtures, which will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on October 27-29 and November 1-3. The two teams will be led by Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood.

The players will use these matches as preparations ahead of West Indies’ forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka for two Test matches following the ICC T20 World Cup. The team will depart from Antigua on November 6 and the tour will run until December 4. The full tour squad and schedule will be announced at a later date. The series is the second of six series, three at home and three away, that West Indies will play in the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship after drawing the first Betway Test Series against Pakistan in August.

 “These Best v Best matches are a critical part of the Test team’s preparation for the series in Sri Lanka. For a number of players, it will be the only serious red ball cricket they will have since the Betway Test series against Pakistan and prior to going on this tour. So, it helps to get them back into the groove of the red-ball format and gives the Selection Panel an indication of the players’ readiness for the tour,” said Lead Selector Roger Harper.

SQUAD A: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Jayden Seales, Preston McSween, Nial Smith and Jeremy Solozano.

 SQUAD B: Jermaine Blackwood (Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Imran Khan, Shayne Moseley, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican.

Legendary West Indies wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon believes the Test team will be forced to continue its search for an opening batsman as the current selections have not produced a great many positive results to date.

Since the team's successful tour of Bangladesh in February three players, John Campbell, Shai Hope, and Kieran Powell have been paired at the top of the innings with West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

To date, the pairing with the Brathwaite has not bred much success.  Campbell has averaged 18.5 in eight innings, Powell 14.57 in seven innings, and Hope 15 in the one match played so far.  The results have often left the team well short of a solid start that has not been a feature of its play in recent times.

“I still think we need to find another opener, we are still looking for an opener and one more top-class batsman in the middle,” Dujon told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Right now we are not getting the results, we need good open partnerships and we have not been getting that,” he added.

Dujon believes that so far, the openers paired with Brathwaite have been plagued by shortcomings with playing the new ball.

“I just don’t get the feeling that he is playing down the right line, as an opening batsman playing a moving ball, I don’t think he gets down the wicket far enough,” he said of Powell.

Having only recently returned to the team, Hope has also been tried in the position.  While he certainly believes that Hope should have a spot in the team, Dujon is convinced it is not at the top of the innings.

“He’s a very good player but he is not an opener.  His style of play to open the batting in limited over cricket is fine.  He should be in this batting line-up but somewhere around four or so.”

 

 

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has hailed the contribution of allrounder and former captain Jason Holder as the team looks to secure its first Test series win over Pakistan in almost two decades.

Holder crafted a crucial second-innings knock of 58 and took 4 wickets as the team held on for a nail-biting one-wicket win to take the lead.

However, the top allrounder has also gained plenty of attention for his actions off the field, particularly for the mentorship shown to young fast-bowler Jayden Seales.  Seales was one of the highlights of the first match for the Windies after claiming an impressive five-wicket second innings haul.

“Obviously, Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world.  He is very crucial, and he has done a fantastic job, obviously with Jayden.  I see them having a lot of chats,” Brathwaite told members of the media via an online press conference on Thursday.

“All the guys are doing a good job, they all came together but obviously Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world so obviously he brings a lot of value.”

Brathwaite replaced Holder as captain of the team in February, following a successful tour of Bangladesh, the team has since drawn with Sri Lanka and lost to South Africa.

Despite a poor run of form with the bat struggling batsmen Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner are full of confidence and are raring to go ahead of Friday’s second Test against Pakistan at Sabina Park in Kingston.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite led the way before he was run out just shy of a century as West Indies edged ahead of Pakistan in the first Test in Jamaica.

West Indies had bowled out their opponents for 217 on the opening day of the two-match series, only to then slip to 2-2 late in Thursday's proceedings when Mohammad Abbas struck twice.

It seemed they could struggle to get even close to parity when they slipped to 100-5 during day two, but Brathwaite stood firm to make sure his side claimed a first-innings lead.

The opening batsman hit 12 fours as he patiently worked his way to 97 but, with a hundred in sight, was caught short by Hasan Ali's direct hit from fine leg to depart.

Jason Holder contributed 58 as he added 96 for the sixth wicket with the man who replaced him as skipper, the former's fluent 108-ball knock including 10 boundaries.

Abbas dismissed Kemar Roach lbw in the closing overs, giving him figures of 3-42 in the match, while Shaheen Shah Afridi ended with 2-59.

However, Joshua Da Silva was unbeaten on 20 alongside Jomel Warrican, who will resume on one not out, as West Indies closed at 251-8, already holding what could be a crucial 34-run advantage in a potentially low-scoring contest.

Coming up short

Brathwaite appeared to be working his way towards a 10th Test century and a second of the calendar year, having made 126 against Sri Lanka back in March. While unable to make it to the milestone in the end, his defiant innings made sure West Indies hold the upper hand at Sabina Park.

Afridi strikes twice but hosts recover

Pakistan will feel they let West Indies off the hook, particularly after Afridi dismissed Jermaine Blackwood – whose ambitious attempt to hit over the top on 22 only found Abbas at mid-on – and Kyle Mayers with successive deliveries in the second session. They will hope to wrap up the tail quickly on day three.

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted the responsibility of leading the team has not had a negative impact on his batting performances in the recently concluded series against South Africa.

Brathwaite, who took over as captain of the team from Jason Holder in February, had his worst performance at the top of the order for some time, albeit against a rampant South Africa.

In two matches, the 28-year-old batsman could only manage a high score of 15 and in total scored 28 runs, which included an early duck in the first innings of the second match.  Prior to heading into the series, Brathwaite had averaged 33.43, including scores of 126 and 85 against Sri Lanka in the previous series.

The batsman has, however, rejected notions of added responsibility for the team impacting his performance at the crease.

“I’m not feeling any pressure.  I enjoy captaining.  I didn’t get any runs as the opening batsman, I just didn’t get any runs full stop,” Brathwaite told members of the media.

The player has targeted looking at a few technical issues and better mental preparation ahead of the next series.

“Opening the batting isn’t easy, but it’s a very crucial job because it basically sets up the game to make it easier for guys that follow and we didn’t do that and it put us on the backfoot for most of the time,” he added.

 

 

 

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted returning batsman Shai Hope is in a good frame of mind, despite a disappointing return to the Test area against South Africa.

Hope spent several months out of the team, after being dropped in November of last year, working on technical and mental issues following a poor run of form.

The 27-year-old’s return against South Africa last week, however, was a baptism of fire, so to speak, as he was uprooted for scores of 15 and 12.  Hope, who opened in the first innings and batted third in the second, was, however, far from the only batsman who struggled on the day with the team only managing 97 in the first innings.

Ahead of the start of the second Test, on Friday, however, Brathwaite has given assurances that the batsman is confident and mentally in good shape.

“Just like any batsman, it’s important how they are feeling.  He is feeling good at the top but I back him for whichever position, whether opening or number 5, I know he will do a good job,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“He’s always up for the challenge and he’s up for the challenge for any position, opening is obviously different but he’s ready for any position.  He is in a good space and that’s one of the main things.  Once the batter has that positive mindset and is confident then that’s the way forward.”

Hope will be looking to replicate some of the form from the Windies Best vs Best practice match where he impressed selectors with a century.

 

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