Tour off to damp start

Despite a stop-start day on which less than 49 overs were bowled, West Indies had a relatively satisfying start to their England tour against Somerset at Taunton. The opening day of the match, a non-First-Class 12-a-side, saw some early wickets followed by a rollicking partnership between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Runako Morton which took the Windians to 237 for 4.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, taking the field for the first time as permanent captain, chose to bat on a Taunton pitch which of late has proven to be even more of a graveyard for bowlers than normal (in 4 matches so far in this year’s County Championship 5349 runs have been scored for the loss of 64 wickets, inclusive of two totals over 800), though the weather bore little similarity to the sunshine which most of the season has been played in: rain delayed the start of the game, play eventually getting underway at 11:15, and was never far away throughout the session.

Chris Gayle got off to a typically belligerent start, though Daren Ganga scratched around for a 15-ball 2 before becoming the first of 3 wickets in the session for Steffan Jones when he was trapped lbw. After an interruption which lasted until after midday, Gayle dragged on the medium-pace of Mark Turner and was gone for a 19-ball 24. Immediately after, Devon Smith drove uppishly at Jones, hitting it straight to James Hildreth at cover, who made no mistake.

The captain Sarwan struck two boundaries, racing to 10 off 10 balls, then fell in a similar way to Ganga. Chanderpaul, however, batted solidly and Morton struck out positively to take the tourists to 76 for 4 at Lunch.

In the second and third sessions, as the ball got older and a second-string attack – Andy Caddick, Charl Willoughby, Peter Trego and Cameron White were rested – struggled for lines and lengths, Chanderpaul and Morton blazed a trail. The threat of rain was rarely too far away, but the interruptions appeared not to affect the concentration of either. Morton took advantage of the short boundaries to strike two sixes and fifteen fours. After bringing up his century, he retired hurt for a 118-ball 103, allowing Dwayne Bravo to come to the crease. He and Chanderpaul saw out the remaining overs to the close. West Indies will hope to allow their remaining batsmen some time at the crease tomorrow, then give their bowlers a runout before the First Test which starts on Thursday 17th. The threat of rain remains, however.

Score summary:
West Indies 237-4
Runako Morton 103*, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 82*
Steffan Jones 3-74

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