CRICKET-WINDIES-Brooks hails impact of warm-up fixture following half-century.

 
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Rookie Shamarh Brooks believes the opening three-day warm-up game was critical for West Indies' batting group in becoming acclimatised to English conditions, especially since it was their first taste of competitive action since arriving here two weeks ago for next month's Test series.The right-hander carved out an unbeaten half-century on Thursday as the fixture between Jason Holder's XI and Kraigg Brathwaite's XI finished in a tame draw at Old Trafford.Traditional tour games against county opposition have been prohibited on this tour due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.'We definitely know looking forward to this series, and I personally believe the team who bats the best in this series will come up trumps,' Brooks told reporters via Zoom following the final day's play.'When you look at the bowling of both sides, it's very strong so it was good to get out there in this practice game and spend some time in the middle. We've been putting in some hard hours in the nets but nothing beats match practice and you need to spend some time out there to get your runs.Shamarh Brooks plays elegantly during his unbeaten half-century on Thursday.'The ball is always moving around - sometimes conditions play a big part - so spending time at the crease is going to be vital.'West Indies' batting will be under the microscope in the three-Test series, in light of recent form and their last tour of England three years ago.They failed to muster 200 in either innings in the opening Test at Birmingham in 2017 and slumped to a heavy innings defeat, and following a revival at Leeds where they levelled the series, again struggled to muster 200 in either innings at Lord's to lose the final Test.Brooks said batting in England often proved challenging because of seam-friendly conditions and the remaining four-day warm-up match would therefore take on special significance for the touring batsmen.'Looking at the conditions here, you know in England the ball is always doing something, you never feel as if you're set as a batsman so you have to stick to your game plan,' he pointed out.'The first 30 runs you might score you may need to set up your innings to bat that way all the way through.'I think some of the guys got some good balls during this game - I can't really...

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