West Indies shaky ahead of World Cup

West Indies made a feeble start to their World Cup campaign yesterday, producing another listless display to slump to a nine-wicket defeat to England in their first official warm-up.

Opting to bat under dreary skies at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Caribbean side were bundled out for a hugely disappointing 122 off 29.3 overs.

Lendl Simmons, batting in the middle order, top scored with 45 while opener Dwayne Smith got 21.

They were the only batsmen to pass 20 and two of four to reach double figures, as pacer Chris Woakes capitalised on seamer-friendly conditions to destroy the Windies innings with five for 19.

His new ball partner Steven Finn claimed two for 23. In reply, England coasted to their target off just 22.5 overs, with opener Moeen Ali top scoring with 46 and his partner Ian Bell getting 35 not out.

The pair added 70 for the first wicket off 71 deliveries, with Moeen leading the charge with an uptempo knock off 43 balls with nine fours. When he drove speedster Kemar Roach to Darren Bravo at short cover in the 12th over, James Taylor entered to stroke an unbeaten 25 and post 55 in an unbroken, second-wicket stand with Bell.

The right-handed Bell faced 68 balls and counted two fours.

Winning the toss and strangely choosing to bat in bowler friendly conditions, West Indies were always up against it once they lost badly out-of-form opener Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo for first ball ‘ducks’ in the opening over.

Gayle, without a significant score in the last two years, gloved a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off one from Woakes that lifted and off the very next ball, Bravo was squared up and nicked a simple catch behind.

Smith faced 23 balls and struck three fours but lacked conviction, and there was no surprise when he stabbed Woakes to Bell at second slip at 35 for three at the end of the seventh.

He put on 34 for the third wicket with Marlon Samuels who drove and cut Finn for boundaries in the seamer’s third over.

However, he followed Smith off the first delivery of the eighth over, bowled by Finn driving at a full length ball, with both feet planted on the crease.

At 35 for four, West Indies were in need of something special but it never came. Simmons, in his first international in nearly a month since recovering from a finger injury, offered brief respite with an enterprising knock that included four fours and a six and came from just 55 balls.

West Indies face Scotland in their second and final official warm-up against Scotland on Thursday at the same



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