LONDON, CMC – Three players from the Caribbean featured on the opening day of key final round matches in the English County Championship yesterday.
West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul made the most of a slice of fortune to hit a hundred, putting Division 1 title hopefuls Warwickshire into a strong position against Hampshire in Southampton.
West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach made Worcestershire virtually certain of Division 1 safety with a three-wicket burst against another title-hopeful Durham in Chester-le-Street
And Barbadian medium-fast bowler Corey Collymore helped Division 2 leaders Middlesex pocket three of the 12 points they needed to gain promotion against Leicestershire in Leicester.
At the Rose Bowl, Chanderpaul was undefeated on 107, and Varun Chopra made 109, as the Division 1 leaders piled up 296 for three in their first innings, after choosing to bat.
A succession of attractive shots for four, including three dismissive pulls, helped Chanderpaul to reach his hundred from 157 deliveries, although he was content to defend for the rest of the day.
He was fortunate however, that Michael Carberry put him down at first slip off Sean Ervine in the closing stages of the afternoon period.
Chanderpaul and Chopra added 188 for the third wicket to put Warwickshire firmly on track for a sizeable first innings total and a healthy haul of batting bonus points.
Chopra fell to Dimitri Mascarenhas shortly before the close, but Chanderpaul completed his third hundred in five Championship matches this term.
Warwickshire started the match three points clear of nearest rivals Lancashire on 226 points.
At the Riverside Ground, Roach finished with three for 57 from 20.5 overs, as Durham, choosing to bat, were dismissed for 264 in their first innings.
In 10 overs before stumps, Worcestershire replied with 21 for one, and led bottom club Hampshire by 19 points with power to add.
Roach helped to confirm Yorkshire’s relegation was confirmed in the last hour before the scheduled tea break, when he bowled Will Smith for the Durham top score of 66, giving Worcestershire their first bowling point.
Roach snared two more scalps, trapping discarded England wicketkeeper/batsman Phil Mustard lbw for 21, and tail-ender Mitchell Claydon caught close to the wicket for five.
At Grace Road, Collymore grabbed three for 79 from 17 overs, as Leicestershire were bowled out for 319 in their first innings.
Collymore removed opener Will Jones lbw, and Leics captain James Taylor bowled for ducks, as the home team endured a nightmarish start, slumping to four runs for three wickets inside the first two overs.
But Collymore and the rest of the Middlesex bowlers were put on the back-foot, when Greg Smith hit the top score of 108 and Ned Eckersley supported with 106, sharing 131 for the fifth wicket to put the brakes on the visitors’ promotion charge.
Collymore made the breakthrough in the second over after tea, when Smith flicked at a ball down leg side, and was caught behind.
Nathan Buck fell off the final ball of the day to Gareth Berg to leave both sides with three bonus points.