By Sean Devers in Barbados
In Association with Western Union,
Carib Beer & Meet Your Match Dating Service
In a battle of the top guns here at the Kensington Oval, leaders the Guyana Jaguars with 92 points, were made to sweat all day by defending champions Barbados Pride, who are second placed on 77 points when the seventh round of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Four-Day Cricket Franchise got on the way yesterday.
While Guyana has not beaten Barbados since 1984 in Guyana, the last time the teams met here in a First-Class encounter, Narsingh Deonarine snatched 7-26 as Guyana won in 2012.
But yesterday 22-year-old Bajan Captain Kraigg Braithwaite fashioned a responsible 103, his fifth Regional First-Class century and 11th overall at First-Class level. His 100 took 302 minutes, 241 balls and was decorated with 12 well timed boundaries.
He put together 69 with Kyle Corbin (46) for the first wicket and 140 with the
talented 21-year-old Shai Hope (69 ) for the third wicket as Barbados Pride reached 258-5 by the end of a day in which 36 minutes were lost after they were asked to bat by Jaguars.
Royston Chase, eight from 54 balls and Night watchman Jomel Warrican, who faced 31 balls and is yet to score, were together when bails were lifted.
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo took 4-66 to take his wicket tally 34, while left-arm spinner Veerasammy took the other wicket to fall yesterday to extend his lead among the wicket takers to 44 scalps.
When played began in overcast conditions, both openers batted solidly on a flat track as Corbin cover drove Ronsford Beaton for four before on-driving the next to the boundary while the Skipper, just back from the Test series in South Africa, was equally dismissive with a couple
of majestic drives racing back past Raymond Reifer.
When Chris Barnwell replaced Reifer, who was switched to southern or Malcolm Marshall End, Corbin smashed him gloriously for four before Braithwaite elegantly square drove Reifer for another boundary.
A disdainful pull by Corbin off Reifer which reached the boundary like a bullet brought up the fifty in 58 minutes from 13 overs after he missed an impetuous drive off the previous ball.
Pacers Beaton, Raymond Reifer, surprisingly used to open the bowling and Chris Barnwell failed to trouble the batsmen in hazy sunshine forcing Leon Johnson to introduce spin in the form of left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul and Narsingh Deonarine, who operated in tandem.
Permaul was greeted with a boundary through mid-wicket off his first ball by Braithwaite, while Corbin danced into Deonarine and smashed him over extra cover as the right-handed pair continued to bat in a positive fashion and dispatched almost every bad ball to the boundary.
Just when seemingly set for a half-century Corbin was bowled by Permaul for 46 from 82 balls, 75 minutes with eight fours to break the stand.
Kirk Edwards swept Permaul behind square for three fours to speed into double figures before hammering the left-arm spinner for another four in the over with a thunderous straight drive as the sun reappeared in all its glory.
By lunch the hosts were 99-1 with Braithwaite on 23 and Edwards on 99 and after the Interval Braithwaite leaned into one that was pitched up from Beaton and caressed it four and brought up his 14th fifty at this level with contrasting boundaries off his countryman Reifer.
A glorious off-drive to the left of Shiv Chanderpaul who then escorted the ball to the boundary to take the slimly built batsman to 49 before he edged the next past the slip cordon for his seventh four to move to 53 from 108 balls and 145 minutes and as they did in the first session, the Jaguars bowlers struggled for penetration.
A short sharp shower sent the players scurrying off the field but sun returned almost immediately and watched by the largest crowd of the Guyana matches, the Bajans batsmen flourished.
The vocal crowd included former Barbados Prime Minister (from 1994-’98), Owen Arthur, Challenger for WICB Presidency Joel Garner, some Guyanese supporters and several English visitors and they would have had their $5 (G$500) worth.
Braithwaite magnificently stroked leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo for successive boundaries before Hope slammed Rifer through the covers and whipped Bishoo off his pads to bring up the 150 and the 50 partnership with Braithwaite with a well timed boundary as the batsmen tucked into the bowling with increasing authority.
Hope rocked back and furiously pulled Bishoo for four while Braithwaite’s bat looked as broad as the Essequibo River as he played with a Shiv Chanderpaul like temperament and by Tea the home team were 183-2 with the Captain on 76 and Hope offering excellent support on 36.
Braithwaite continued to played wonderfully well and soon reached his second ton for season from 292 minutes, 232 balls with was decorated with 12 fours and celebrated with a thumping four off Permaul, while Hope, who oozed confidence, reached his fifty with a scorching straight drive past Bishoo for four. His half-century lasted 150 balls, 163 minutes and included five fours.
Bishoo took two wickets in the space of three runs when removed both set batsman as the Bajans slipped to 243-4. Bishoo first got rid of Braithwaite at 240-3 and then induced Hope to sky one to Chanderpaul at deep mid-off after batting for 297 minutes, 169 balls and reaching the boundary seven times as the Jaguars fought back towards the end of the day.
Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich took the score to 252 after a six from Dowrich off Bishoo brought up the 250 from 95.4 overs before Dowrich (7) edged Bishoo to the Keeper.
With extra batting points up from grabs, the Bajans sent in Warrican to join Chase and they opted to close shop. Play is scheduled to commence at 10:00hrs today.
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