Powell off to a cracking start in Oz
Canberra, Australia – The West Indies were made to work hard during their tour-opener in Australia, and feel they got “good value” out of their match against the Prime Minister’s XI on Tuesday.
The Windies batsmen played a major role in the high-scoring thriller which produced close to 650 runs. They ended 310-9 off 49 overs in pursuit of the home team’s 333-6 off 50 overs on a placid pitch in the first-ever day/night encounter at Manuka Oval.
Watched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other dignitaries, Kieran Powell gave a good look at his ability with an assured half-century in his first knock on Australian soil.
The left-hander made a stroke-filled 92 off 97 balls before he was forced to retire with cramp in his right calf. Ramnaresh Sarwan recovered from a slow start to post 63 on his return to the team. The pair added 89 for the second wicket and provided a solid foundation after Powell and Johnson Charles (34) posted a run-a-ball 83 for the first wicket.
Andre Russell then came in and brought the fireworks to light up the night sky. He blasted 53 off 24 balls and kept the West Indies in the match until he was caught in the deep. Despite a sore knee, which limited his bowling earlier in the day, Russell was still able to launch five sixes – the biggest of which travelled 108 metres over long-on and was caught by a fan in the stands.
Earlier in the day, Sunil Narine’s slow bowling proved difficult for the batsmen as he ended with 2-32 off 10 overs, including a double-wicket maiden.
Giving an assessment of the day’s work, Powell outlined: “We still have a lot of positives to take from this game. We got over 300 and we didn’t have Chris Gayle playing, so we will take the positives from the way we batted.”
He added: “For me, I felt really comfortable and confident out in the middle. This was my first hit in the country so I wanted to make sure that I got a score. Initially it was tough getting in on the pitch, but once I did I had the freedom and confidence to play my shots.
“It was very important to spend time in the middle and get used to the conditions. Most of the guys got some good time in the middle and we will go to Perth believing we will do very well over there.”
Powell used a simple technique on the good surface. A tall, confident left-hander, he hit the ball very hard and straight, was able to find the boundary when required and also rotated the strike very well in partnership with right-handers Charles and Sarwan.
“I enjoyed batting with Jono (Charles) and then had a good time out in the middle as well when Sarwan came in. Both of them played really well and we were able to provide a good start,” added Powell, who is a graduate of the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre.
“We know that we have some power coming in the bottom of our innings so once we get a good start and don’t lose too many (wickets) at the top, the guys at the bottom can do the job, as we saw from Russ (Russell) tonight. What he did was not a huge surprise to anyone in the team. We have seen him do it before and we know what he is capable of.”
Powell and Russell will be assessed on Wednesday morning, but are both expected to be ready for Friday’s first One-Day International against Australia at the WACA Ground. The West Indies will travel to Perth on Wednesday and will have a full training session on Thursday afternoon.
First ball in Friday’s first One-Dayer is 11:20 am (Thursday 11:20 pm Eastern Caribbean Time/10:20 pm Jamaica Time).