But leaders Jaguars still unbeaten
By Sean Devers
When Guyana Jaguars began the action packed final day on 104-4 with 61 required for their fifth victory for the season and with Vishaul Singh, one of only two batsmen with over 450 runs, unbeaten on 48, it appeared that their sixth round CWI Digicel Regional four-day Championship game against the Windwards Volcanoes would be done and dusted in the first session with an easy win for the home team.
What transpired yesterday at Providence was as nail-biting as it was unbelievable and must have left the Jaguars’ Coaches fuming.
On a Sunday morning in the midst of Guyana’s Christmas season the only disappointment was that only about 12 fans were there to witness an exhilarating climax to a low scoring contest on a track which contributed very little to the totals posted by both teams.
Only Devon Smith, Shiv Chanderpaul and Vishaul Singh demonstrated the patience and maturity to earn fifties in the game.
Three times defending Champions Jaguars, hunting 165 for victory, crashed to 164 all out, 89 minutes into the day’s play as the Providence Stadium became the first venue in the West Indies where a First-Class game ended in a Tie.
Despite the historic result, Jaguars remained unbeaten at the top of the points table with 97.2 points with four games to play including two at home.
In over 300 years of First Class cricket only 62 games, including two Test matches, have ended in a Tie and yesterday’s result was the first ever in the West Indies. Australia was involved in both Tied Tests with the first being against West Indies in 1960.
Jaguars lost six wickets for 46 runs as off-spinner, Dominican Shane Shillingford captured 5-45, his 40th five-wicket haul at this level, while Left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson, who had 5-46 the last time Volcanoes played at Providence in April this year, supported with 3-45.
With the scores level, Shillingford aborted his run-up as ‘something’ got into his eyes and Bramble, five away from his ninth fifty and fourth for the season, who was fast becoming a nervous wreck and was made the wait.
The Jamaican Umpire Christopher Taylor further stalled when he tried to verify the score from the Match Referee and third Umpire on ‘Walkie Talkies’ that seemed to be malfunctioning and Bramble, with not the calmest head in the world, was made to wait longer.
When the action eventually resumed a confused looking Bramble, who batted Jaguars to the brink of victory with some entertaining shots, neither went forward or back and played no shot and the ball cannoned into his pad.
A raucous appeal went up and so did Taylor’s finger to spark contrasting emotions. Shillingford and his team erupted in celebrations as if they had won the World Cup, while a depressed looking Bramble stayed a long time at the crease after the decision not believing what had happened a few moments ago before, looking a sorry sight, despondently made his back to the pavilion.
When play began, Singh, with two centuries and two half-centuries this season, soon reached his 12th fifty at this level but just when the little left hander, who only has less runs than Devon Smith’s 612, was eying another not out, he was LBW to Shillingford at 118-5.
Singh faced 95 balls in his 56 which was decorated with eight well struck boundaries and his demise triggered a dramatic collapse as Shillingford went to work and almost got his team over the line.
Sherfane Rutherford (2) was removed by Johnson at 126-6, Kemo Paul (3) ran himself out at 138-7 and Veerasammy Permaul (5) and Gudakesh Motie (0) were sent packing with the score on 158.
Bramble was fast running out of partners and with only last man Keon Joseph to come, the panic button was activated.
Ironically, it was Bramble who was dismissed as the Volcanoes, who floored three catches late on the third afternoon, handled the situation better than their Guyanese counterparts as the pressure mounted in the dying stages of what turned to be a very competitive game.
Meanwhile, Jaguars head Coach Esuan Crandon said his side did not play well in this game adding that the batting was way below expectations.
“Volcanoes bowlers utilized the conditions a little better than us. Our batsmen didn’t display enough fight and determination. Our bowlers did a fantastic job in the first innings by restricting them for 117 but we didn’t bowl that well in the second innings, allowing them to score over two hundred runs,” said Crandon.
Speaking of the mood in the Jaguars camp after the games was tied Crandon informed that everyone were disappointed with the result because they felt that Jaguars should have won from their overnight position.
“Nevertheless we are happy that we didn’t lose the game and was able to gain some crucial points which still give us a big lead going into the next match,” concluded Crandon.
The next match for the Jaguars is a day/night contest against the Leewards Hurricanes from Thursday at Providence.
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