By Sean Devers
On a gloriously sunny day yesterday at the Everest ground, Camp Road, leg-spinner
Amir Khan’s solid 116 ensured Demerara ended the second day of their four-day Inter-County cricket fixture against the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Development Team in firm control going into today’s penultimate day on a track which is beginning to assist the spinners.
In February 1991 at Guaracara Park in South Trinidad, Guyanese fast bowler Garfield Charles scored 101 against Trinidad & Tobago batting as night watchman and yesterday Khan became the first Guyanese night watchman at any level of recognized cricket since then to replicate the feat with an accomplished hundred from 309 minutes, 257 balls decorated with 10 fours and a six.
Khan and Skipper Vishaul Singh (56) added 131 for the fourth wicket to help Demerara to 338 all out, 30 minutes after Tea despite 5-91 from 43.1 overs from Skipper Steven Jacobs and 3-48 from leg-spinner Steven Sankar.
By the close, the GCB team was in deep trouble at 38-5 in their second innings, still needing another 146 runs to avoid an innings defeat, medium pacer Paul Wintz ripped open the middle order with three wickets so far.
Resuming the day on 134-3 replying to the GCB team’s 154, Singh and Khan batted out the entire first session with little bother to add 99 runs in 39 overs in a session in which they totally dominated on the fast outfield with Khan playing the lead-role in the partnership.
Khan, overnight on 14, played an array of audacious shots as he batted with authority and reached the boundary six times while clearing it once off Sankar, in his half-century, which came from 110 minutes and 108 balls.
The diminutive Singh was content to play the supporting role and a rare boundary from the left-hander brought up Demerara’s 200 off 67.2 overs even as the right-handed Khan, picked more for his leg-spin, continued to flay the bowlers in sweltering heat.
By Lunch the score was 233-3 and the partnership had progressed to 119 with the free flowing Khan unbeaten on 63 and Singh, who played with a tight defense, on 48. The lead at Lunch was 79 and the GCB unit’s attack was struggling for penetration.
However, just after the subdued Singh, who scored a ton against Berbice in the first round, got to his 50 from 129 minutes, 152 balls with four boundaries, he was taken at forward short-leg as Jacobs got one to bounce on the little left-hander after he had made a carefully constructed 56 to leave the score on 245-4.
Jacobs, who toiled away in the morning session sending down 15 overs, got rid of the big-hitting Chris Barnwell (4), caught at slip from one that went straight on with the arm as Demerara slipped to 254-5.
While Khan, with three First-Class matches to his name, remained confident and composed, Zaheer Mohamed did not last long and was trapped LBW to national under-19 seamer Kemo Paul for a duck, two runs later, while Joseph Perry (14) was sent packing by Sankar at 290-7.
In danger of running out of partners before he had a chance to reach his maiden hundred at this level, Khan and Paul Wintz took their team to 311-7 by Tea with Wintz on nine and Khan, who spent 40 minutes in the nervous 90s, caressing part time spinner Chanderpaul Hemraj for four to move to 98 by the break.
After Tea, Khan, who turned 22 on the 3rd of this month, crawled to 99 before going onto the back foot when Hemraj pitched short and hammered it to the cover boundary to post his second career century from 286 minutes, 239 balls with his ninth four.
Khan’s only other hundred at any level is 153 for the touring USA club side against Canal in West Demerara two weeks ago and yesterday he celebrated his hundred with a thunderous pull off Jacobs for his 10th four.
Wintz (10) was then removed by Hemraj while Sankar got rid of Khan before Jacobs wrapped up the innings when he trapped last man Gavin Moriah (1) LBW, to pick up his second successive five-wicket haul in the competition, leaving Raj Nanan unbeaten on seven.
The GCB team, needing 185 to avoid an innings defeat, began their second innings in horrendous fashion and quickly slumped to 7-3 with debutant Moriah taking his first Inter-County wicket when had Shemron Hetymer caught behind for three.
Wintz struck twice in his next over as he had Taignarine Chanderpaul LBW for a duck and David Latchaya caught behind hooking at a bouncer, as both wickets tumbled with the score on seven.
Hemraj got going with delightful clip off his pads for four off Moriah and along with Jacobs tried to steady the ship. But Barnwell had Hemraj (12) LBW at 19-4 before Wintz scattered Jacobs’ stumps after he had managed eight to leave his team wobbling on the ropes at 23-5.
Paul (6) and Savory (9) will hope to bat for as long as possible today to try to make Demerara bat again in what has so far been a one-sided contest.
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