Watchful Windies chase mammoth total

The West Indies took a conservative route when they finally got a bat in their hands in the tour cricket match against the State Auckland Aces today.

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The tourists went to stumps on the second day of the three-day fixture at Auckland's Eden Park Outer Oval on 82 without loss in their first innings.

Xavier Marshall was on 45 and Sewnarine Chattergoon 31 as they set off slowly in pursuit of Auckland's distant 587 for seven declared.

The two openers were cautious and watchful on a surface full of runs.

Their approach was understandable because the match is the West Indies' only outing ahead of the first of two tests against the BLACKCAPS, starting in Dunedin next Thursday.

Earlier, two Auckland batsmen raised milestones as the West Indies were put to the sword in the field.

Auckland declared their first innings on the stroke of tea, immediately after Gareth Hopkins reached his century with a six to be 103 not out.

It marked the highest score registered by Auckland against a touring team.

Hopkins' eighth first-class century followed a career-best 201 from skipper Richard Jones, who had resumed this morning on 186 with Auckland at a powerful 359 for two.

Having lost his overnight partner Reece Young, who added five more runs to reach 61 before being trapped leg before wicket by fast bowler Fidel Edwards, Jones went on to his maiden first-class double century.

But the 35-year-old former international lasted only four more balls before Sulieman Benn grabbed a chance offered from an Edwards delivery to end his innings.

In his 108th first-class match, Jones batted for 401 minutes, faced 330 balls and hit 26 fours and three sixes.

The West Indies were certainly happy to see the back of him but there was no respite for the tourists as Hopkins took up the challenge, hitting seven fours before his lone six saw him attain his century off 182 balls.

Kyle Mills also chipped in with 50 and debutant Jeet Raval made 31 for the Aces.

Edwards was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, taking three for 125 off 29 overs, although Lionel Baker was relatively economical in picking up one for 95 off 28.

Tall spinner Sulieman Benn got a solid workout, wheeling down 48 overs for a return of one for 146.

NZPA

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