Jason Holder struggles with the bat again in West Indies warm-up

West Indies captain Jason Holder underwhelmed with the bat once more as head coach Phil Simmons officially rejoined the team after his latest negative coronavirus test on the final day of their intra-squad match.

In a bid to find some time in the middle, Holder promoted himself to open the batting but the move backfired as he made just two off 15 balls, bowled by a beauty from Anderson Phillip that nipped in and trimmed the off-bail.

Holder’s cheap dismissal means he has made just seven runs and faced fewer than 30 balls in three innings across these two internal matches ahead of the start of next week’s first Test against England at the Ageas Bowl.

There was better news as Simmons rejoined the camp, having been self-isolating in his room at the team’s on-site hotel at Emirates Old Trafford after leaving the bubble to attend his father-in-law’s funeral.

He has watched the majority of this rain-interrupted four-day game from his balcony but his third negative Covid-19 result allowed him to interact with the rest of the touring party, and he presided over the warm-up session on Thursday.

Before play, the Windies marked the passing of the great Sir Everton Weekes, who died on Wednesday aged 95, with a minute’s silence and wore black armbands when they took to the field.

Less than an hour of play was possible on the last morning because of overnight rain as Kraigg Brathwaite’s XI advanced their position from 112 for seven to 178 all out, with Shannon Gabriel taking four for 42.

Gabriel will almost certainly be catapulted into the Test squad from the reserves list in the next couple of days, and he ended the innings by bowling Chemar Holder, who broke his bat from the previous delivery.

Kyle Mayers counter-attacked his way to 74 not out from 56 balls – including nine fours and three sixes – but he ran out of partners, with Alzarri Joseph pinning Marquino Mindley in front from the third ball of the day and Kemar Roach bowling Keon Harding before Gabriel emphatically ended matters.

That gave the Holder XI a first-innings lead of 94, although at this stage getting under-cooked players middle practice seemed to take more of a priority than the result.

That was emphasised when Holder strode out alongside Sheyne Moseley to commence the second innings. The all-rounder survived a couple of tight lbw shouts off Phillip, who had his man with a peach of a delivery.

Holder did at least bowl five overs last night, showing no discomfort after a recent ankle niggle, but while he struggled with the bat again, Jermaine Blackwood belatedly found some form.

Hoping to earn a first Test start in nearly three years, Blackwood timed the ball nicely in his 43 from 48 balls, which was ended when he was bowled by Roston Chase’s first delivery of the match.

Blackwood’s knock means most of the frontline batsmen currently in the Test squad have had at least one innings of substance across these two matches, and perhaps underlined the lack of urgency in a sleepy afternoon session.

An unbroken 40-run stand between Nkrumah Bonner (36no) and first-innings centurion Joshua Da Silva (13no) took the Holder XI to 108 for three at tea and a lead of 202.

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