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Phil knocks idle days


Phil knocks idle days

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MELBOURNE – West Indies coach Phil Simmons has lamented a lack of match practice for his embattled team ahead of the second cricket Test against Australia.

The Caribbean side, trailing 1-0 in the three-match series after being trounced in the series opener in Hobart, were given only a two-day tour match in the lead-up to the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne despite having 13 days to fill.

The match against Victoria XI, played in scorching hot conditions in the port city of Geelong against a team of amateurs, ended early yesterday because of a downpour.

“When I saw the amount of days in between I asked that we have at least a four-day game,” Simmons told local media after the game ended in a draw with the hosts 169-3 in reply to West Indies’ first innings declaration at 303-8.

“When the last MOU (memorandum of understanding) came back it ended up a two-day game. I would love to have had a four-day game where we could bowl properly and play a proper game, like we did up in Brisbane,” he said.

“That’s what I would have been happy with . . . A two-day game is not ideal.”

Victoria state’s top cricketers were unavailable due to their commitments in the domestic Big Bash Twenty20 tournament, leaving Jason Holder’s team to play against a grab-bag of players cobbled from local clubs.

“I would have loved a first team but the Big Bash has just started, so it was always going to be hard,” Simmons said.

“You’d always prefer to get better games.

“When people come to us now, our ‘A” team will always play the visiting team and that’s the sort of competition I would like when we go outside the West Indies,” Simmons declared.

The Boxing Day Test starts on Saturday with the third and final match of the series in Sydney from January 3.

Yesterday, rain allowed only 58 overs on the final day of their two-day tour match.

The tourists declared their first innings at their overnight 303 for eight but hopes of giving their fast bowlers an extended workout were scuppered by the adverse weather.

Victoria XI were led by Jake Hancock, who was unbeaten on 80. Tom Donnell made 34 and captain Ian Holland, 29.

Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo to pick up two for 60, to be the Windies’ best bowler.

West Indies started brightly when fast bowler Kemar Roach claimed Travis Dean for three to a catch by Jermaine Blackwood at point, fending off a short ball.

The tourists were then held up by two stubborn partnerships.