Lightning and bad light ended batting practice for the touring West Indies who emerged second-best from their three-day draw with a makeshift Kent XI in Canterbury. The game ended just before 5pm when lightning and heavy cloud took the players from the field with the West Indies on 132 for 4 – representing a modest overall lead in the match of 66 runs.
Toby Radford, West Indies’ batting coach, was pleased with the workout his players had received. Shai Hope and Jermaine Blackwood made first-innings centuries and Shimron Hetmyer added an unbeaten 43 on day three.
“Kent bowled in good areas and kept coming at us,” he said. “They swung it away to the right-handers and whenever we batted in this match there was cloud cover and a little bit of juice around. It was nipping around throughout, perfect English bowling conditions for when we batted and we talked about that, playing late and knowing where your off stump is. They’re finding out for themselves now that’s how you have to play here.
“Jermaine has been in good form since we landed and Hetmyer has scored a lot of runs in the Under-19s and is making the big jump up a couple of levels. These guys are young, but they’re learning quickly.
“We’re getting a lot of 30s and 40s, we need to convert them to bigger scores and make sure we post big first-innings total because if we’re to truly push England then we must get big scores up on the board first time around. Players batting for two-and-a-half hours won’t be enough, they have to be prepared to battle it out for a whole day or more.”
The final day’s play finally got underway at 12.20pm after an 80-minute delay for rain, but once again the visiting top-order soon found the overcast conditions tricky against Kent’s rookie attack of seam and swing-bowlers.
Facing a 66-run first innings deficit, West Indies lost their acting skipper Kraigg Brathwaite to Charlie Hartley’s fourth ball of the day. Prodding forward, Brathwaite feathered a legcutter through to keeper Adam Rouse to go without scoring and give Hartley his fifth wicket of the match. Then, with 24 on the board, Matt Hunn got one to hold its line against the slope and take the outside edge of Kyle Hope’s bat for Rouse to snaffle his second catch and send Hope packing for 9 as the tourists lunched on 24 for 2 – still 44 in arrears.
After the interval Kieran Powell and Shai Hope made a watchful return, both surviving lbw appeals before drizzle again took the players from the field with the tourists on 45 for 2. Play resumed at 3.05pm with the loss of nine more overs and Rouse was soon celebrating a third catch after Powell tickled one from Adam Ball to depart for 23.
Hope and Hetmyer made good their side’s 66-run first-innings arrears before Hartley bagged his sixth wicket of the match, having Hope well held at short extra cover by Zak Crawley as the tourists took tea with a modest lead of 22 runs. In fading light Hetmyer showed his steel with a battling 43 before the sides shook hands on the draw.
Summarized scores: West Indians 265 (Hope 57, Blackwood 50, Hartley 4-80) and 132 for 4 (Hetmyer 43*) drew with Kent 331 for 9 dec (Dickson 142, Crawley 62, Joseph 4-72)