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Windies opt for batting practice

Investec Test Series
Denesh Ramdin

Denesh Ramdin was the more prolific batsman in partnership with Taylor © Getty Images

West Indies settled for a draw in their low key tour match against MCC at Durham after using the game primarily as batting practice.

They established a 274-run first-innings lead but left the MCC only 39 overs to bat when they finally declared on 534 for eight in mid-afternoon on the third and final day.

The hosts, however, lost wickets at regular intervals and were 64 for five, effectively six down as captain Sanath Jayasuriya had left for an early flight back to Sri Lanka, when play was surprisingly brought to a premature conclusion with 15 overs remaining.

The Windies main objective had been for their batsmen to score runs ahead of this week's third Test with England at Old Trafford.

To that end the fixture in the north-east was a success with five players making useful scores - two of them centuries.

After Runako Morton had made the highest first-class score recorded on the picturesque Racecourse ground of 201, Denesh Ramdin also reached three figures with an impressive innings of 131 off 163 balls.

The West Indies wicket-keeper struck three sixes and 16 fours before he was the eighth wicket to fall when he edged Ruel Brathwaite to wicket-keeper Paul Dixey.

Just as with Morton it was a personal best in first-class cricket for Ramdin, who shared a stand of 110 for the sixth wicket with Jerome Taylor.

Runako Morton

Runako Morton hit the highest score on the Racecourse Ground © Getty Images

The Windies had begun the final day on 340 for four and they lost Darren Sammy to the second ball of the morning.

Sammy drove medium-pacer Simon Butler straight to Will Porterfield at short cover where the Ireland opener took a smart low catch.

Ramdin, whose innings was workmanlike rather than spectacular, received good support from Taylor who followed his five-wicket haul with the ball with a patient 35.

West Indies had reached 450 for five after 111 overs at lunch, with Ramdin on 73, but the first over of the session again brought joy for the MCC as Taylor played around a straight ball from Butler and was comprehensively bowled.

Mali Richards, son of West Indies legend Viv, then removed Daren Powell's off stump before Ramdin completed a 132-ball century.

The West Indies were clearly unconcerned about forcing a result and only when Ramdin's occupation of the crease ended did the players head for the pavilion.

Even then the decision was a formality as Chris Gayle and Raul Rampaul were unable to bat due to injury.

The MCC's eight bowlers stuck to their task but most were expensive, although seamers Brathwaite and Butler shared five of the wickets to fall.

Having spent a long time in the field the hosts lost Porterfield in the first over of the second innings.

An attempted pull succeeded only in top edging off Powell for Ramdin to take a simple catch.

Zoheb Sharif was then trapped lbw on the front foot by Taylor for seven as the MCC slipped to 22 for two.

A direct hit from substitute fielder Dwayne Bravo then ran out Luke Evans while Sammy had Dixey caught in the gully by Sylvester Joseph.

The MCC were 54 for five when James Morris, one of four Durham UCCE players in the side, mistimed an on-drive to give Sammy his second wicket.

There were 15 overs left and four wickets to take when the two sides shook hands on a draw at 5.15pm.

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