By Sean Devers
On a flat Bourda track in sweltering heat yesterday, Jonathon Foo and Shiv Chanderpaul
rescued Leon Johnson’s X1 from a precarious position of 22-4 with contrasting half-centuries after fast bowler Jeremy Gordon had fired out the top with incisive fast bowling on day one of the first four-day practice match at Bourda to select the Guyana Jaguars for the inaugural West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional Cricket League Regional Four-Day Franchise Tournament which starts on November 14.
Foo clobbered four fours and three sixes in a pugnacious 85 from 131 balls and 140 minutes before a rare bad shot orchestrated his demise, caught on the cover boundary driving impetuously at pacer Kemo Paul. Chanderpaul’s carefully constructed 52 lasted 185 minutes, 120 balls and included four fours and a six as Johnson’s X1 reached 240 all out.
The 27-year-old Gordon, who has played First-Class cricket for both Guyana and Canada, provided a stern test for the batsmen with his lively pace and ripped out three of the first four wickets to finish with 4-41 for Vishaul Singh’s X1 who reached 16 without loss by the close with Taignarine Chanderpaul on nine and Kandasammy Surujnarine on two.
Rajendra Chandrika (1) edged a drive at one that left him from Gordon, who made his First-Class debut against the Leeward Islands at Albion in 2007, to the keeper as he struck at 3-1.
Robin Bacchus was beaten for pace and bowled for a first-ball duck by Berbician Gordon, who has played three First-Class matches for Guyana and two for his adopted country. Eleven runs later Gordon, who also played five ODIs for Canada, struck again when Narsingh Deonarine (1) cut a catch to point as Johnson’s X1 slumped to 14-3.
It was soon 22-4 when West Berbice pacer Raun Johnson had Trevon Griffith caught at short-leg for 17 before the 40-year-old Chanderpaul (29) and Chris Barnwell (27) rallied Johnson’s X1 to 79-4 by Lunch with the Captain being unable to bat due to a sprained finger.
But with the fifth wicket stand on 60, Barnwell, who hit three boundaries, fended a short ball that ‘kicked’ on him at 82-5 as the impressive Gordon, bowling with genuine pace, continued his mission of destruction under a clear blue sky.
Watched by a handful of spectators, Chanderpaul dumped left-arm spinner Anthony Adams into the players’ pavilion before pulling Paul for a double to reach his fifty from 104 balls, 161 minutes with four fours and a six.
However, the Test left-hander was deceived by off-spinner Steven Jacobs and was taken at short mid-wicket to end his well crafted innings at 124-6.
Anthony Bramble joined Foo who played with refreshing maturity and responsibly, playing each ball on its merit without sacrificing his ‘big shots’ when ball was in the slot to be dispatched over the boundary.
Foo reached his half-century with a murderous straight six off leg-spinner Amir Khan whom he took a liking to and clobbered for two more sixes over the bowler’s head.
A clinical pull off Johnson reached the boundary like a bullet while a majestic clip through mid-wicket was simply orgasmic and was followed up by a flowing square drive for four.
Bramble (2) was neatly stumped by Jason Sinclair when he missed a wild swipe at a flighted ball which turned from Khan at 129-7 before Veerasammy Permaul played some delightful shots in his 24 and along with Foo, in the middle of one of his better innings, added 92 for the eighth wicket before Permaul and Kemol Savory (0) were bowled by Adams (2-38) in three balls as two wickets tumbled at 221.
With last man Paul Wintz at the crease, Foo continued to display a wonderful temperament and shot selection until he inexplicably was taken on the cover boundary off the fast bowler when just 15 short of what would have been a well deserved century. Today is the second day and play is scheduled to commence at 09:30hrs.
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