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Practice pays off for Shillingford

 \\\\\ KINGSTON


West Indies off spinner Shane Shillingford says batting practice in the nets has paid off, resulting in him scoring the second fastest Test 50.

Shillingford struck an unbeaten 53 off a mere 25 balls as West Indies attempted to chase down a mammoth 403 for victory in the opening Test match against New Zealand on Wednesday. West Indies lost the match by 186- runs inside four days as the Kiwis took a one-nil lead in the three-match series with the second Test set to begin on Monday at the Quieen’s Park Oval.

“A lot of coaches, in terms of different teams, they see me bat and always tell me I will get runs. Even the Windward coach tells me that,” said Shillingford who played his first Test since his suspension due to an illegal bowling action.

“So I am doing some work in the nets along with the assistant coach and staff on batting, and I’m glad it paid off today.”

The Dominican cricketer finished with a match haul of five for 184 against New Zealand and teamed up with Sulieman Benn in an 85-run last wicket partnership which threatened to take the match into the fifth day. Shillingford struck three fours and five sixes in an impresse showing with the bat.

“Growing up, I never used to be a bowler. I used to be a No. 3 batsman, playing Under-19s, Under-13s,” Shillingford said.

“The technique and all is still there, the way I like to strike the ball. My strength is to hit the ball straight.”

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