West Indies wrapped up their preparations for next week’s first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park by drawing their three-day tour against the South African Invitational XI at Willowmoor Park in Benoni on Thursday.
Trailing by 34 runs in the first innings after the hosts were bowled out for 317 at the end of the second day on Wednesday, West Indies got off to a horrendous start with Taginerin Chandrapaul (13), Devon Thomas (3) and Ramon Reefer (1) collapsing.
As seamer Thando Ntini (2-10) unleashed a devastating blast with the new ball, the tourists were decimated cheaply, slumping to 18/3.
The West Indian team scored 208/8 before being bowled at the end of the third afternoon. Wicketkeeper Joshua De Silva, who had already scored a half-century in the first innings, scored a top score of 44 to seal his feat.
Having trailed by 34 in their first innings, they built up a 174-run lead in their second knock and with the game not having first-class status, there wasn’t a particular badge of success available for the South African Composite side.
It was important for the visitors to get the necessary batting practice even if they did not have a 50-maker in their second innings.
Chanderpaul glanced a leg-side catch to the ‘keeper in the second over from Ntini, Thomas whipped a short ball from pacer Corbin Bosch to deep square while Raymon Reifer tapped a half-hearted push back to Ntini.
Blackwood arrived to consolidate, first putting on 53 for the fourth wicket with Mayers before adding a further 62 for the fifth wicket with Da Silva who counted five fours in a 62-ball knock.
The right-handed Blackwood faced 83 and struck seven fours while Mayers belted eight fours in counter-attacking 25-ball innings before slashing at a wide delivery from pacer Codi Yusuf and edging to first slip.
Blackwood was eventually dismissed when he missed a quick run and was LBW to a full-length delivery, 3 for 29, ending the innings at 162 for 7.
However, Holder and Kemar Roach (29 not out) put on a brisk 32-run partnership, and the eighth wicket saw the West Indies safely through to the end.
A concern for the West Indies in this match is the strength of their middle order and the specialist batsmen entrusted with the task. They are a bit safer in the top and lower middle order, where captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Chandrapul, Holder and Da Silva are trusted lieutenants.
South Africa’s bowlers acquitted themselves well, with Thando Ntini (2/10) and Hlompho Modimokone (2/29) the pick of the attack.
The West Indies will move their preparations 51km north to SuperSport Park in Centurion, where they’ll play the first of two Tests against South Africa, starting on Tuesday.
Scores in brief
West Indians: 283/9 declared and 208/8 (Josh da Silva 44, Jermaine Blackwood 39, Kyle Mayers 38, Jason Holder 32, Thando Ntini 2/10, Hlompho Modimokoane 2/29, Wihan Lubbe 1/0, Codi Yusuf 1 /33, Smangaliso Nhlebela 1/38)
South Africa Invitational XI: 317 all out (Wihan Lubbe 71, Dewald Brevis 50, Ruan de Swardt 40, Corbin Bosch 31*, Akeem Jordan 3/32, Roston Chase 3/94, Shannon Gabriel 2/45) Match drawn