CARDIFF, Wales –Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo both hit top-quality half-centuries while both Kemar Roach and Tino Best bowled with pace and aggression as West Indies got in some much-needed game-time as they prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.
Charles took the attack to the bowlers and made 55 at the top of the order and Bravo scored a polished 86 on his return to the team, but the score of 256-9 off 50 overs proved insufficient as they lost to Australia by four wickets in their first official warm-up match.
The two 24-year-olds batted well together and added 65 for the second wicket to provide a solid platform on a good pitch at the Swalec Stadium on Saturday. The powerful Charles faced 63 balls and hit four boundaries, while the elegant Bravo struck ten boundaries and two sixes off 99 balls, but fell 14 short of a century.
They were however trumped by a superb century from opener Shane Watson, as Australia made 259-6. Roach was brilliant with the new ball and dismissed left-handers David Warner and Phil Hughes in identical fashion – taken by keeper Denesh Ramdin in front first slip. Best was sharp in his second burst got his wickets with some quick short-pitched bowling Watson – caught hooking – and Adam Voges, caught by third man running in.
Speaking after the game, West Indies Assistant Coach Toby Radford said the match provided a good workout and match preparation for the team.
"We have been in the nets for a while now so it was good to get out in the middle. I think we got a lot out of this game. It was our first game of the tour and it was good to get out there and get accustomed to the weather and the conditions. Also getting used to the different wickets, as we have been playing a lot in the Caribbean and we had others who were playing in the IPL and joined us," said Radford.
"I was really pleased that Johnson Charles was able to get 50 and I thought young Bravo played really well to get close to a hundred. We were hoping he would go on and get a century but that was not to be today. Both batted well in the conditions and gave us the kind of start we were looking for."
Radford outlined that things went a bit off-track during the batting powerplay when the Windies lost Bravo and his older brother Dwayne in quick succession. He felt Roach bowled well with the new ball, but Watson was better on the day.
"Shane Watson has been a thorn in the side and has been for a while. We got a great start with the ball when Kemar Roach gave us those two early wickets and we were on top of things, and we would have loved to get Watson at that stage. But he played really well and they were always up with the rate and he won them the game," Radford added.
West Indies travel to Birmingham on Sunday. They are scheduled to have a full training session on Monday morning ahead of their second official warm-up match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday at Edgbaston.
The ICC Champions Trophy will feature eight teams: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. The tournament will be played across three venues from June 6-23.
Dwayne Bravo (Captain)
Denesh Ramdin (Vice Captain/Wicketkeeper)
Ottis Gibson (Head Coach)
Richie Richardson (Team Manager)
Toby Radford (Assistant Coach)
Andre Coley (Assistant Coach)
C.J. Clark (Physiotherapist)
Hector Martinez Charles (Strength & Conditioning Coach)
Richard Berridge (Video & Statistical Analyst)
Philip Spooner (Media Manager)
Virgil Browne (Massage Therapist)
Pre-tournament warm-up matches
Saturday, June 1: vs Australia at Cardiff (day/night)
Tuesday, June 4: vs Sri Lanka at Edgbaston
Preliminary matches Group B
Friday, June 7: vs Pakistan at the Oval
Tuesday, June 11: vs India at the Oval
Friday, June 14: vs South Africa at Cardiff
Wednesday, June 19: at the Oval
Thursday, June 20: at Cardiff
FINAL: Sunday, June 23 at Edgbaston