Windies upbeat about preparation despite Aussie defeat

Cardiff, June 3 (IANS/CMC) The West Indies travelled to Birmingham to prepare for their final warm-up game ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in good spirits despite their loss to Australia here.

Playing in their first warm-up game at the SWALEC Stadium Saturday, the West Indies showed glimpses of good form before losing by six wickets, reports CMC.

Assistant coach Toby Radford said the outing had been important in terms of getting the players crucial match practice and acclimatised to the local weather.

“We have been in the nets for a while now so it was good to get out in the middle. I think we got a lot out of this game. It was our first game of the tour and it was good to get out there and get accustomed to the weather and the conditions,” he pointed out.

“Also getting used to the different wickets, as we have been playing a lot in the Caribbean and we had others who were playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and joined us.”

Opting to bat first, the West Indies reached 256 for nine from their 50 overs, with left-hander Darren Bravo top scoring with 86 and opener Johnson Charles weighing in with 55.

Australia were struggling at four for two in the second over of their run chase following quick strikes from speedster Kemar Roach but an imperious 135 from opener Shane Watson quickly settled the issue.

“I was really pleased that Johnson Charles was able to get 50 and I thought young Bravo played really well to get close to a hundred,” Radford said.

“We were hoping he would go on and get a century but that was not to be today. Both batted well in the conditions and gave us the kind of start we were looking for.”

He added: “Shane Watson has been a thorn in the side and has been for a while. We got a great start with the ball when Kemar Roach gave us those two early wickets and we were on top of things, and we would have loved to get Watson at that stage.

“But he played really well and they were always up with the rate and he won them the game.”

The West Indies will undergo a full training session Monday before clashing with Sri Lanka Tuesday at Edgbaston in another warm-up game.

Following the match, the West Indies will turn their attention to their opening game against Pakistan Friday at the Oval in London.

The Caribbean side is contesting Group B alongside India, South Africa and Pakistan while Group A will see hosts England, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand doing battle.

The two top teams in each group after the preliminaries will progress to the semi-finals. The ICC Champions Trophy runs June 6-23.

–IANS/CMC

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