Tea West Indies 277 (Brooks 111, Campbell 55, Hamza 5-74) lead Afghanistan 187 by 90 runs
Shamarh Brooks’ maiden Test hundred put West Indies in a strong position on the second day of the one-off Test against Afghanistan in Lucknow.
Starting the day on 68 for 2, West Indies were eventually dismissed for 277, 90 ahead of Afghanistan’s first-innings total of 187. Amir Hamza was the most successful bowler for the hosts, picking up 5 for 74 on his debut.
Brooks showed a great mix of attack and defence against the Afghanistan spinners who appeared desperate for wickets at most times. Rashid Khan, in particular, had a couple of strong lbw appeals turned down that added to their frustration but in the absence of DRS, there was no choice but to accept the on-field decisions.
While Afghanistan did make inroads and one wicket usually brought another, Brooks stayed firm. After counterattacking for the first half of his innings, he assumed a more mellowed approach post lunch but didn’t miss out on the loose deliveries, which the Afghanistan spinners offered a lot. Rashid, in particular, was at the receiving end as Brooks took 69 off 108 balls from the legspinner.
In all, the 31-year-old struck 15 fours and a six in his 111 before being bowled by Hamza while looking for quick runs with the side eight wickets down.
In the morning, West Indies decided the way forward on this turning track of the Ekana Cricket Stadium was to attack. The strategy paid off as John Campbell deployed a variety of sweeps – slog, lap, reverse – to counter the left-arm spin of Amir Hamza as he took 15 from the bowler’s second over of the day. He brought up his maiden Test fifty with a single to deep square-leg, courtesy a conventional sweep.
Brooks was more orthodox at the other end but no less attacking. In one Rashid over, he struck two fours and a six as West Indies went past 100. Campbell and he added 82 in just 19.1 overs before Hamza broke the stand with Campbell’s wicket for 55, scored in 75 balls. But it was as much Ihsanullah’s wicket too, as the slip fielder, upon seeing Campbell line up a lap sweep, moved swiftly to his right and put in the dive to pouch the ball one-handed.
Shimron Hetmyer and Roston Chase didn’t last long after that. Hetmyer was trapped lbw by Rashid Khan and Chase fell to left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, caught at short leg off an inside edge.
At 150 for 5, it looked like Afghanistan had clawed their way back, but their hopes were thwarted by Dowrich. Like other batsmen before him, Dowrich too started in an aggressive manner, hitting three fours in no time to move to 15 off as many balls. But it wasn’t that the Afghanistan spinners didn’t create any chances. Apart from a couple of loud lbw shouts, Rashid got Brooks to edge one behind but Afsar Zazai failed to latch on.
Brooks and Dowrich added 74 for the sixth wicket and took the side into the lead. But once Zahir Khan got Dowrich lbw, for 42, the rest of the batting didn’t last long as Hamza picked up three of the remaining four wickets. Jason Holder was stumped off for 11, while Kemar Roach was trapped lbw. In between Rahkeem Cornwall was wrongly given out lbw off Rashid, with the ball brushing the inside edge on its way to the pads.