Travis Dowlin led a Demerara batting recovery with an unbeaten century which along with a four-wicket haul from off-spinner Zaheer Mohammed enabled Demerara to secure first innings points over Essequibo in the first game of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) senior Inter-County competition at the Everest Cricket Club ground, yesterday.
Despite the loss of two and a half day’s play and being precariously placed on 86-5 at the close of the ran-affected first day on Friday, Demerara, with Dowlin leading from the front and receiving fine support from Krishna Deosarran (44) and Mohammed (31) was able to declare Demerara’s innings closed one hour after lunch on a challenging 248-8 with Dowlin scoring 102 not out off 179 balls with seven fours.
Essequibo, in reply, collapsed for 119 with Mohammed capturing 4-19.
Dowlin had resumed yesterday on 25 with his team shakily placed on 86-5 when bad light stopped play on Saturday.
He responsibly shouldered the batting reaching an invaluable, unbeaten 102 at the declaration.
He lost night watchman Rayon Griffith who was adjudged lbw for four with the score 96-6, but a seventh-wicket stand with Deosarran contributed 85 precious runs.
Dowlin reached his 50 from 103 balls, in 164 minutes of batting with four boundaries whilst Deosarran, displaying a maturity in his batting, played some handsome drives during his knock which lasted 108 minutes.
He faced 95 balls hitting four fours and one huge six over a wide long off position off the bowling of left-arm orthodox bowler Robert Moore.
Deosarran batted with a level head, but when seemed destined for a big score, he misread a googly from Goberdhan and lost his off stump.
The Essequibo players had only themselves to blame for their predicament as they were guilty of dropping Dowlin twice.
He was dropped on 66 by Rakesh Goberdhan on the mid wicket fence off the bowling of off-spinner Andrew Williams who bowled a consistent line without any luck.
At lunch, Demerara were 186-7 with Dowlin on 73 not out and Mohammed not out on one.
Dowlin was given another life when in the `nervous ninties’ (91) this time by Ramesh Narine off Moore with Demerara 221-7.
Mohammed was also given a chance when Goberdhan, who was introduced into the attack the following over after grassing Dowlin, could not latch onto a return catch.
He, however, did not last long after that as Essequibo’s most successful bowler Trevon Garraway (4-31) returned for a third spell and bowled him as he played all over a full pitched delivery.
After his dismissal, Dowlin was joined by Sauid Drepaul and quickly reached the three figure mark off 172 balls with seven fours.
Thomas supported Garraway with 2-40 whilst Zakie Salim 1-20 and Goberdhan 1-30 offered support.
Essequibo in reply, lost wickets to some injudicious shots after being perfectly placed on 56-1 at tea. The man to go was Yogeshwar Lall who had adopted a no nonsense approach.
After waltzing down the wicket to hit Griffith down to a wide long off position, he attempted to hit Chris Barnwell, who shared the new ball with Griffith, somewhere out of the ground but only succeeding in top edging the ball for wicket-keeper Joseph Perry to gleefully hold his first catch as a senior Demerara wicket-keeper.
After this, Essequibo lost wickets rapidly and were 63-4 with Doodnauth Baksh (04), Dinesh Joseph (36) and Goberdhan (02) all losing their wickets to the bowling of Barnwell (3-37).
The introduction of spin slowed things down for Essequibo on a low, slow Everest wicket as Drepaul and Mohammed created problems for the batsmen. Wayne Osborne (19) who in partnership with Salim (18) helped post 28 runs for the fifth-wicket needlessly gifted his wicket away.
After hitting Drepaul for a four first ball through extra cover, and then caressing him through the same area for two more runs, he was bowled playing a careless, uncalled for shot.
His innings lasted 21 balls and he struck one four during his 23 minutes stay at the wicket.
From 91-5, Essequibo folded for 119, losing their last five wickets for 28 runs, and the last nine for 63 runs. Johnson supported Mohammed and Barnwell with 2-6 whilst Drepaul took 1-17.
In an invited comment, Garraway told Stabroek Sport that he was disappointed with his batsmen who had over three hours to get in some batting practice and at least first innings points against a supposedly weakened Demerara bowling attack. He, however, showered praise on the opposition bowlers who never gave up.
“When we were in the field, we gave too many chances to the Demerara team, none more so than Travis (Dowlin) who benefited from two and went on to score a hundred. Their bowlers then returned to keep us under pressure and I must give credit to them. However, I still would have preferred to see my batsmen spend more time in the middle, putting up a better fight in the process.”
Dowlin expressed delight on achieving such a positive result, taking into consideration the negative talk circulating.
“I would however, like to see the top order getting among the runs, especially in the next game against Berbice who have been known to always give us a fight.”
The competition will continue on Friday when Berbice will play their first game against Essequibo at the Demerara Cricket Club ground, Queenstown.