By Sean Devers
Guyana were well positioned to register their first victory against Barbados on home in soil in 31 years when the penultimate day of their third round WICB PCL four-day Franchise ended at Providence yesterday.
At the end of a day blessed with brilliant sunshine, left hander Jonathan Carter rode his luck well until it ran out in the last over of the day when he top-edged an ill-advised pull off a long-hop from part-time spinner Leon Johnson to fall 11 short of his third First- Class century.
His well crafted 89 spanned 274 minutes 225 balls with 12 fours and engineered a spirited fight back by the Barbados Pride who reached 166-3 at the close, still 67 away from making the Guyana Jaguars bat again today.
Resuming on 60-4 in reply to the Jaguars’ 337 the visitors slumped 104, one hour and 15 minutes into the day’s play with 20-year-old left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie (3-19) extending his wicket tally to 17. He got support from fellow Albion left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul (3-41) and off-spinner Steven Jacobs who added 2-18 to his 11 scalps in the tournament to help enforce the follow-on with the Bajans behind by 233 runs to leave the Guyanese Franchise ‘large and in charge in their own backyard’.
Guyana has not beaten Barbados since 1984 when an even hundred from Andy Jackman and a match haul of 11 wickets from Roger Harper led them to a nine-wicket win at Bourda.
But the Bajan Franchise will be keen to remind the Guyanese that the only loss by the Jaguars in the last tournament came in shocking fashion at this very venue when set 69 to win with an entire day to go, the Jaguars collapsed to their third lowest Total to lose by two runs.
The Bajans will also remember that 27-year-old Shamarh Brooks, who is unbeaten on 30, scored 111 & 51 in the last round against T&T’s Red Steel and will desperately hope that Royston Chase, Mario Rampersaud, Ashley Nurses and Skipper Kevin Stoute can produce a vastly improved showing from their first innings effort.
When the day began the Bajans lost their last six wicket for 44 runs with only Chase (14), Stoute (11*) and Tino Best (19) getting into double figures and Johnson wasted little time in enforcing the follow-on.
The just over 100 fans in the stands would have expected an easy win for Guyana (which could still happen today) when debutant Kemar Braithwaite (15) was trapped LBW to Permaul at 20-1.
But Kyle Corbin and Carter repaired the early damage with a 62-run stand before Corbin, who had batted intelligently and responsibly for 120 minutes in his 106-ball 24, played an impetuous shot off Motie to mid-off to depart with his team on 82-2 and give Motie his 18th victim so far.
Brooks, with three hundreds and two fifties at this level, Carter, who was dropped four times and together they took their team to Tea at 112-2 from their Lunch time score of 38-1.
The second session saw stout resistance from Stoute’s men as Carter rode his luck and his confidence increased as his innings progressed while the usually free-flowing Brooks buckled down to play the supporting role.
Carter had his first ‘life’ on 12 off Jacobs but his shots became more authoritative as he approached his 14th first-class fifty while the usually elegant Brooks, who got off the mark with an exquisite back foot punch for four, took 58 balls to reach double figures as the pair kept their team in the game.
A fluent extra cover drive by Carter off Permaul reached the boundary like a bullet and even the partisan turn out would have enjoyed it as the frustrating partnership continued to build.
After Tea the session was interrupted for nine minutes due to Wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble leaving the field to use the washroom. Umpires Nandkumar Shivsankar and Jamaican Christopher Taylor allowed the lengthy delay instead of informing the Jaguars Captain that someone in the team do the Keeping duties until Bramble returned.
Carter and Brooks seemed set to bat out the day but Johnson, in a brilliant piece of Captaincy, opted to bring himself into the attack in the closing stages of the day’s play. The 84-run partnership was broken off Johnson’s third ball when Carter pulled a rank long hop and skied it for Assad Fudadin at short leg to hold the catch.
It was the type of shot, with two minutes to go and after doing all the hard work that could have caused Carter nightmares last night and again tonight if the Bajans lose by an innings.
But as Bajan commentator Andrew Mason likes to say ‘if you feed your faith your doubt will starve to death.’ But with so much time left the Bajans would have to find the faith of Job (from the holy bible) to believe that they could deny the Guyanese celebrating a long awaited win on South American soil.
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