Windwards seize early advantage in feature match

GROS-ISLET, St. Lucia, CMC – Spinners Audy Alexander and Levaughn Lewis shared seven wickets, as Windward Islands gained the early initiative in their top-of-the-table clash with Jamaica in the TCL Group West Indies Under-19 Challenge yesterday.

Off-spinner Alexander, the Windwards captain, collected four wickets for 37 runs from 21 overs, and leg-spinner Lewis snared three for 40 from 8.4 overs, as Jamaica, sent in to bat, were dismissed for 177 in their first innings in the first hour after tea.

Opener Atticus Brown then reached 27 not out, and Kaveem Hodge 24 not out to carry the hosts to 56 without loss at the close on the rain-marred opening day of the fourth round match at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.

The home team suffered an early setback without a run on the board, when opener Denis Smith was caught at third slip for a duck off Nicholson Gordon in the first over of their innings.

But Hodge, the Windwards’ top batsman in the competition, joined Brown, and they consolidated their side’s position with their unbroken stand before the close. Earlier, the Jamaicans wobbled to 76 for four at lunch, and never fully recovered, as several of their batsman got starts without carrying on.

Vaniel Broomfield hit the top score of 29, their captain Paul Palmer made 28, Jermaine Blackwood the leading scorer in the competition, got 26, and Kemar Marshall added 24.

Hometown seamer Bronte Bess had Jamaica rocking early, when he bowled opener Peat Salmon for two, and had West Indies under-19 batsman John Campbell caught behind for 13. Just when it looked like Palmer and Ramon Senior were beginning to turn the tide, they both fell in the last half-hour before the interval.

Palmer was caught behind off spinner Rudolph Paul, and on the stroke of lunch, Alexander made his first strike, when Senior was caught at mid-wicket for 10 pulling a full toss.

Rain during lunch prompted a 40-minute delay, but the Windwards’ bowlers continued to make inroads into Jamaica’s batting on resumption.

Both Broomfield and Blackwood, whose 377 is the highest aggregate in the series, were caught behind square sweeping leaving Jamaica on 142 for six at tea.

After the break, the Windwards spinners ran through the Jamaican lower order.

Lewis bowled Kemar Marshall around his legs attempting a sweep, had Gordon caught at first slip for eight, and then snared the last wicket of Donovan Nelson stumped for 16.

Both sides entered the match locked on 21 points, following victories in the previous round, which ended last Sunday, when Windwards beat Guyana by seven wickets, and Jamaica defeated Leeward Islands by five wickets.

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