Incapacitated Raymon Reifer and gritty Joshua Da Silva declined to chance their arm at notching the West Indies’ first first-class win on Australian soil in more than 25 years, instead defending grimly to fight out a draw in the pink-ball tour match against the Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval.
Chasing 309 for victory after the PM XI’s sporting declaration at 221 for 4 late on day three, the tourists shut up shop at the fall of the eighth wicket with eight overs to go.
Da Silva started aggressively before putting up the shutters in the last hour, while Reifer remained unbeaten off 26 scoreless balls. Not expected to bat due to a groin injury, Reifer did not even look to score, declining even the easiest singles hit to the outfield.
West Indies’ most recent first-class win in Australia came in the fifth Test of the 1996-97 battle for the Frank Worrell Trophy.
Courtney Walsh’s tourists – piloted by Brian Lara’s century and Curtly Ambrose’s seven wickets – thumped Mark Taylor’s side inside three days at the WACA.
“It was just the right time,” PM XI captain Josh Inglis said of his generous declaration late on Friday which paved the way for the nail-biting finish. “We wanted to set up the game, which made today really exciting.
“It’s a great occasion. Every time you’re gearing up for international cricket, it’s a great challenge. And to play against an international side is great. I think our boys had a really good week.”
All results were possible when the West Indies entered the dinner break at 221 for 5, requiring a further 88 runs for victory off a minimum of 31 overs.
The last session started horribly for them when Roston Chase succumbed after just three balls, beaten in flight by Ashton Agar, miscuing and lofting a catch to Joel Paris at mid-off.
The pendulum swung the tourists’ way when Da Silva and Alzarri Joseph combined for an enterprising 48-run seventh-wicket stand.
Joseph, who swung lustily and impressively, was grassed on 24 by Aaron Hardie in the slips before guiding Mark Steketee to Michael Neser at gully four overs later.
When Steketee had Kemar Roach gloving a short ball to Peter Handscomb at slip, the West Indies fell to 273 for 8 and duly parked the bus.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul was named player of the match for his fine double innings (119, 56), which should surely earn him a Test debut against Australia at Optus Stadium, starting in November.
“It was nice to get some runs,” the softly-spoken Chanderpaul said. “I knew it was going to be tough…just happy to get some runs.”
Matthew Renshaw (81, 101 not out) and Handscomb (55, 75) hurtled themselves into contention for international recalls with their contributions for the home side.
Summarized scores: Prime Minister’s XI 322 (Renshaw 81, Harris 73, Handscomb 55, Joseph 4-65) and 221 for 4 Dec (Renshaw 101*, Handscomb 75) drew with West Indies 235 (Chanderpaul 119, Murphy 3-27, Paris 3-32, Steketee 3-33) and 277 for 8 (Chanderpaul 56, Thomas 55, Da Silva 52*, Steketee 3-56