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Powell strikes ton as West Indies A take lead

Gros Islet (St Lucia): After the batting flop-show, India `A` bowlers also found the going tough as West Indies `A` accumulated a crucial 90-run lead by reaching 320 for eight in their first innings on the second day of the third and final unofficial cricket Test here.

Opener Kieran Powell was the standout performer for the hosts, with his third first class hundred and his second in as many months. Picked after returning from a disappointing Test tour of England, the left-hander scored 139.

Resuming the day unbeaten on 16, Powell played with fluency to raise his century just before tea at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium.

The knock was his highest first-class score and it came after 108 for the senior West Indies against England Lions at Northampton last month. He sent down 12 fours and three sixes in an innings that required 255 balls and lasted six hours and 46 minutes.

He reached his half-century just before lunch off 101 balls with four fours and a six – a straight hit off left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar and brought up his century with a straight drive off off-spinner Rohit Sharma. Along the way, he shared crucial partnerships to keep Windies A on top.

Powell shared 54 for the second wicket with Kyle Corbin (26), 51 for the third wicket with Nkrumah Bonner (26) and another 67 for the fifth wicket with Donovan Pagon who scored 30 from 56 balls with five fours. However, Powell`s best partnership was a 78-run effort with wicketkeeper Devon Thomas whose 50 required 79 balls and included two fours and an equal number of sixes.

Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena, who top-scored in the visitors` first innings with 61, was in good touch with the ball as well and picked up three wickets for 55 while seamer Parvinder Awana claimed two for 78.

The Indian bowlers did put the Windies in trouble for a while but the Caribbeans held got the upperhand due to Powell and Thomas` brilliant knocks. The series is currently tied 1-1.

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