Fawad strikes as Aussies toil in Antigua

Fawad Ahmed did his chances of a Test debut no harm but Australia have been made to toil on the opening day of their tour match in Antigua.

At stumps on day one, the West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI were 5-288 thanks to half-centuries by opener Rajendra Chandrika and middle-order batsmen Shane Dowrich and Roston Chase.

Chandrika (74) and Dowrich (78) added 99 for the fourth-wicket after the hosts had been reduced to 3-38 in a rain-marred first session at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Fawad, who snared the wicket of Sharmarh Brooks (4) in his first over, eventually broke the stand when he slipped a straighter delivery past Chandrika’s bat to crash into his stumps.

The 33-year-old finished the day with 2-95 from 25 overs.

The Pakistan-born leg-spinner’s efforts will hardly have gone unnoticed as Australia seriously contemplate handing him a debut for next week’s opening Test against the West Indies in Dominica.

His spin partner Nathan Lyon (1-73) worked hard throughout the day but only had one wicket to show for his efforts when Dowrich chipped a simple catch to Peter Siddle at mid-on in the final session.

Earlier, fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, bowling from the Curtly Ambrose End, produced an opening spell the great Windies quick would have been proud of.

Hazlewood first lured opener Tyron Theophile (4) to offer a catch at gully before dismissing the hosts’ captain Leon Johnson for a duck when Michael Clarke at second slip took a simple catch.

The NSW quick’s first spell ended with figures of 2-8 off six overs with three maidens.

He would end the day with 2-26 from 15 overs, and was unlucky not to add at least two more scalps with two inside-edges coming perilously close to the stumps off his bowling.

It was a mixed day for others hoping to press their claims for a spot in the line-up next week against the Windies.

Mitchell Marsh (0-37) bowled well, mixing length deliveries with bouncers but did give away three no-balls and a wide in his 10 overs.

Adam Voges (0-13), whose Test debut hopes hinge more on his batting performance, did get a chance to impress with the ball, bowling four tidy overs in the day’s final session.

Play will resume at 10am on Thursday (0000AEST) with Chase not out on 65 and Jason Mohammed unbeaten on 42 in an unbroken 91-run sixth-wicket stand.

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