Nov 07, 2015 Sports
By Sean Devers
West Indies opener Rajendra Chandrika became the seventh Guyanese to score a century at Providence when he fashioned a magnificently compiled unbeaten 140 yesterday to put the Guyana Jaguars in control against the Windwards Volcanoes on the opening day of their first round WICB PCL four-day first-class cricket Franchise.
The 26-year-old from the Village of Enterprise on the East Coast of Demerara finally converted his ninth 50-plus score into his maiden First-Class hundred which was decorated with 21 elegant boundaries from 310 balls as he batted for the entire day of 360 minutes to help the Jaguars to a respectable 284-4 from 94 overs.
Chandrika shared in three substantial partnerships with Leon Johnson, Vishaul Singh and Shiv Chanderpaul as off-spinner Shane Shillingford recovered from a ragged first spell to finish the day with 3-87 from 31 overs.
Chandrika, who did not play in any of the two Tests in Sri Lanka after making a double duck on his Test debut against Australia, started in enterprising fashion and had stroked four elegant boundaries before he had reached 20. He dominated an opening stand with Assad Fudadin (4) before Fudadin inside-edged one onto his stumps in the sixth over with the score on 27.
Skipper Johnson, who was severe on Shillingford whom he swept for his first three boundaries, raced to 29 with four fours and a straight six off Shillingford before he pushed forward to the Dominican and was taken at slip to leave the score on 75-2 and break the 47-run second wicket stand.
Johnson could consider himself lucky to have survived a confident LBW shout when he played no shot to Kyle Mayers when on two at 29-1.
Chandrika, in his 33rd First-Class game, oozed confidence as his innings progressed as he left alone balls he did not have to play at and put away the bad balls on the flat track and fast outfield.
Singh looked a model of concentration and found the gaps with immaculate precision while he expertly picked the bad balls to hit seven fours as he and Chandrika took the Jaguars to Lunch at 120-2. Chandrika, who reached his 50 from 87 balls and 113 minutes, was unbeaten on 52 at the interval while the diminutive Singh was with him on 23.
After Lunch, in bright sunshine, the pair took their partnership to 104 with responsible stroke-play as Chandrika in particular played several audacious cover drives off the pacers and cut the off-spinners behind point. Chandrika, dropped on 53 in the second over after Lunch at second slip off Marvin Matthews, rarely played a bad shot and his wristy on-drives and flicks were a joy to watch.
The compact Singh, who scored his maiden ton against Trinidad last year, fell two short of his sixth 50 when he was LBW to Shillingford after batting for 125 minutes and facing 91 balls.
Chanderpaul, who made 119 in his last Regional game in Dominica earlier this year against the same opposition, and the classy Chandrika, took their team to Tea at 206-3.
The experienced Chanderpaul kept Chandrika calm when he was in the ‘nervous 90s’ when impatience threatened to get the better of the right-hander just before Tea which was taken with Guyana’s newest Test player just nine short of the 18th century at Providence.
Chanderpaul stroked the ball into gaps to pick up regular ‘twos’ and when Mayers bowled full and wide just before Tea, the left-hander from Unity stroked him effortlessly for four through cover much to the delight of about 60 spectators in the ‘Red’ Stand to end a session in the which the home team scored 86 runs in 31 overs and lost one wicket.
After the break Chanderpaul continued to look solid on the easy paced pitch, while a thunderous straight drive from Chandrika ricocheted off the non-striker’s wicket and went for four to take him to 99. A firm push past mid-off off Dalton Polius brought his century from 217 balls, 262 minutes with 15 fours.
Chanderpaul one of only two Guyanese with more than one Regional double century, looked untroubled and seemed well set for his 132 First-Class fifty when he edged Shillingford, who took 5-118 the last time these team met, to Devon Smith at slip. His 34 lasted 77 balls and 102 minutes and included three fours and his demise, which ended a valuable 80-run partnership and left the score 259-4.
Chandrika continued to play with consummate ease while with batting points up for grabs in the first 110 overs Bajan left-handed all-rounder Raymon Reifer got going with a four and six back over the head of Liam Sebastian and by the close was on 11.
Chandrika looks well positioned to join Chanderpaul and Lendl Simmons as the batsman with double centuries at Providence as the Jaguars ended day one large and in charge in their own backyard.
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