By Sean Devers in St. Lucia in association with Trophy Stall and Tower Suites
The Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia will host the eighth round PCL four-day First-Class match between the Guyana Jaguars and the Windwards Volcanoes from today and the visitors will aim to extend their
unbeaten streak to 15.
The Jaguars are the defending Champions and tournament leaders with 107 points, 17 more than second placed Barbados Pride and 66 ahead of fifth placed Volcanoes. The Jaguars have won 16 and lost seven of their 37 First-Class matches against the Windwards while 14 have been drawn since their first game in 1983 when Guyana won by 108 runs in Dominica.
Lockhart Sebastian, the Windwards Manager today, made 88 in a losing cause as five-wicket hauls from Roger Harper and Clyde Butts and 143 from Faoud Bacchus powered Guyana to victory.
The Jaguars arrived in St Lucia on Tuesday and could make one change to the team which drew with the Bajans in the last round. The Windwards were held to a draw in their last game against the Leewards in St. Thomas with Dominican Kavem Hodge scoring a maiden century and the experienced Devon Smith continuing his dominance at this level with 89.
Bajan pacer Kyle Mayers had 5-83 after making 58 for the Windwards. The last time these teams met last year at Providence, Guyana won by 104 runs with Rajendra Chandrika making his first hundred in Guyana’s 362 although Shane Shillingford captured two five-wicket hauls.
Left-arm pacer Raymon Refier had four second innings wickets while off-spinner Steven Jacobs took four wickets in the first innings and dismissed Smith twice. The track here should offer some bounce but not much turn for the spinners and Jacobs is unavailable due to injury.
The left-handed Smith, who has the most centuries at Regional level with 24, would be confident of another good performance. Guyana will want Chandrika and Taignarine Chanderpaul, who added 92 for the first wicket in Barbados, to continue their good form.
They will also hope that Assad Fudadin could reproduce his first half form while Skipper Leon Johnson has 499 runs and Vice-Captain Vishaul Singh is 66 runs ahead of Shamarh Brooks’ 511 runs and the only other batsman with 500 runs.
Singh has three tons for the season and would expect support from Anthony Bramble, Reifer, Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo. “Every batsman here has been batting well, even Fudadin who has been a bit unlucky in his last few innings but are not going on to get three-figures.
I think shot selection has been the main reason for this” Head Coach Esaun Crandon said yesterday from the team’s hotel. “Leon (Johnson) has been timing the ball really well since the season and is among the top three batsmen in the aggregate. I believe he is one century away from getting back into West Indies team while Vishaul (Singh) has the most runs and most centuries”. Crandon added.
“The pitch looked green but that might not be the case tomorrow (today). While the batting line-up should remain the same there is the possibility of (Gudakesh) Motie coming in for (Ronsford) Beaton but that will depend on the type of pitch we get for this game” Crandon concluded. Beaton looked below his best in Barbados while left-arm-spinner Motie is Guyana’s leading wicket taker (36) and second overall behind Jamaica’s Nikita Miller’s 41. Keon Joseph has bowled with pacer and could share the new ball with Reifer and would hope for an early break through before Permaul (30 wkts from 5 matches), Bishoo and Motie comes on.
No batsman from the Windwards has managed 300 runs but Smith. Hodge, Mayers and Sunil Ambris had half-centuries in the last round when they registered their highest total of the season.
Support could come from Tyrone Theophile, Keddy Lesporis, Liam Sebastien, Shillingford and Dominican Jelomie Robinson with the bat. The Islanders’ bowling is fairly strong with their Bajan new ball pair of Kevin McClean and Mayers leading the pace attack.
Spinners Shillingford, Sebastien and Alston Bobb could be expected to do a lot of bowling in this match which is scheduled to commence at 10:00hrs today and will have ball-by-ball Radio commentary and live streaming on windiescricket.com website.
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