ST AUGUSTINE, Trinidad, CMC – Test left-hander Brendan Nash was closing in on a century but the in-form Marlon Samuels missed out on one, as Jamaica dominated Trinidad and Tobago on the opening day of their Regional First Class Championship semi-final yesterday.
Nash finished the day unbeaten on 96 while Samuels was dismissed for 80, two innings that propelled the defending champions to 251 for three at the close at the Sir Frank Worrell Ground.
Sent in to bat, Jamaica slipped to 57 for two before Nash and Samuels stitched up the innings with a third wicket stand of 141 runs, ensuring Jamaica got the better of the exchanges in the all-important encounter.
Nash, warming up for the start of the Test series against Pakistan later this month, faced 177 balls, in an innings that has so far lasted 256 minutes and included nine fours and one six.
The right-handed Samuels, meanwhile, seemed en route to his fourth century of the competition before he fell after striking 12 fours and a six, off 210 balls in 288 minutes.
Their partnership was crucial after pacer Ravi Rampaul prised out opener Simon Jackson for one with the score on three, to a catch at third slip by Sherwin Ganga.
Fellow opener Danza Hyatt played some attractive drives in counting seven fours in 41 off 83 balls before he was trapped lbw by off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth, after adding 54 for the second wicket with Samuels.
Nash then joined Samuels to skilfully avert any further danger, both playing fluently and cashing in on scoring opportunities.
Unflappable throughout, Nash was quick to pounce on anything loose and played one memorable upper cut for six over third man off the bowling off Shannon Gabriel.
Samuels’ one error of judgement cost him his wicket as he drove at a delivery from medium pacer Rayad Emrit and edged to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Nash remained unfazed by the dismissal of Samuels, finding an ally in captain Tamar Lambert (25) to take Jamaica to the safety of the close with a 53-run, unbroken fourth wicket stand.