The second practice match between India and West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI ended in a draw on day three as the hosts held on to a draw in spite of crucial strikes by Ravichandran Ashwin. Resuming the day on 26 for 1, the President’s XI finished on 223 for 6, with Jermaine Blackwood making an impressive 51, and Vishaul Singh and Montcin Hodge contributing crucial 39s, thus not allowing India to breakthrough completely. There was no collapse towards the end, as the batting side held on with resolve.
When the day began, India would have been hopeful of claiming a victory, with a big first-innings lead to defend. John Campbell and Shai Hope were resolute in defence, and took the score to 60 in the 21st over, before India finally managed to make a breakthrough. Campbell was dismissed for Jadeja for 31 from 59 balls, having hit two fours and as many sixes. Shai Hope followed his back to the pavilion soon. He was out for 17 from 49 balls, caught by Virat Kohli off Ashwin. At 70 for 3, India would have sensed an opening.
Blackwood and Vishaul had other plans. They kept the Indians at bay for the next 30 overs, and the match meandered towards a draw. They took the score from 70 for 3 to 132 before the next wicket fell. The breakthrough came via a run out in the end. Vishaul had made 39 from 101 balls with the help of five fours and a six when he was run out by Shikhar Dhawan. The partnership frustrated India, and was one of the major reasons why they couldn’t push for a victory on the day.
Even after Vishaul departed, the batting side continued to be determined. Blackwood went on to complete his half-century, and was eventually dismissed for 51 from 143 balls, having hit seven fours. He was bowled by Ashwin. By that time though WICB were very much safe. Hodge also took the opportunity to impress, making an unbeaten 39 from 88 balls with seven fours. Rakheem Cornwall, who picked up five wickets with the ball, did well with the bat as well, making a quick 21 from 32, a knock which included two sixes, before falling to Mohammed Shami. WICB finished on 223 for 6 after 86 overs holding India to a hard fought draw.
--By A Cricket Correspondent