(Trinidad Express) Trinidad and Tobago captain Rayad Emrit won the toss but the Guyanese batsmen controlled the first day of their sixth round WICB Regional Four-Day Tournament fixture at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday.
Veteran West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul batted for four hours-plus, mostly in company with Narsingh Deonarine (87, 10 fours, one six), to pull Guyana out of the peril of 87 for four to the safety of 260 for six at the close.
Not wanted anymore by the Windies for limited overs play, Chanderpaul (79 not out, six fours, one six) yet again proved an invaluable, quality presence for his team.
Emrit’s decision to field first was made to backfire because of Chanderpaul and Deonarine’s 138-run fifth wicket partnership which changed the course of the day’s play.
The successes for T&T were precious few and were shared around the bowlers.
In the day’s fifth over, Shannon Gabriel removed Leon Johnson via a catch in the gully by Kevon Cooper after the batsman had followed a delivery wide of off-stump. However, it took just short of an hour for the next breakthrough.
Left-handers Assad Fudadin (24, three fours) and debutant opener Chanderpaul Hemraj (29, five fours) had put together a stand of 36 when Cooper–one of the few T&T bowlers to beat the bat yesterday–drew Fudadin into following a delivery slanted across him and he snicked to Aneil Kanhai at first slip.
Like Fudadin, newcomer Hemraj also failed to capitalise on the start he got. For about 25 minutes before his dismissal , he gave repeated hints at waning concentration and eventually, in the penultimate over before lunch, hit leg-spinner Imran Khan in the air to Jason Mohammed at cover.
Skipper Emrit would have been satisfied with the morning’s work when lunch was taken at 82 for three. But he would also have known that the real test for his bowlers would come after the break as they tried to remove the next three batsmen.
Deonarine and Ramnaresh Sarwan came out after the interval and only five runs were added before Sarwan was going back to the Brian Lara Pavilion. Like too many of his West Indies colleagues in St Vincent against Australia, he played a rash shot, miscuing a lofted hit off Kanhai for Kavesh Kantasingh to take a comfortable catch at mid-on in just the fourth over after the break.
It was one down, two to go at that stage. But it was here that T&T hit a wall.
Deonarine and Chanderpaul took their time on the slow pitch, focussing on crease occupation and accumulation. Bowlers of no type found much to assist them. It was a matter of patience, persistence and imagination if the seasoned pair of left-handers was to be separated. But T&T couldn’t manage the whole combination. And while there was one time when Deonarine got slack and went after a rare Cooper short ball that fell between fielders, there was no such indiscretion from Chanders.
“Batting” should be his middle name for he lived up to it again yesterday, going on and on, serenely.
The pair batted through to tea, with the total 159 for four. Deonarine had just reached 50.
After the interval, they pushed on for a further 66 runs and seemed in no danger of being separated until Deonarine, just 13 away from a century tried to carry left-arm spinner Kantasingh over the long-on boundary but instead delivered the ball into Adrian Barath’s hands.
Since his six-wicket haul in the Jamaica first innings last week, it had taken Kantasingh nearly 33 overs for his next success.
The faster T&T bowlers were the more impressive yesterday. Apart from the probing Cooper (9-1-32-1), Gabriel controlled his pace and length, kept a consistently good off-stump line, gave away few free hits and was thus used most often by his captain.
But Gabriel (20-4-50-2) and his mates will have a bit more work to do this morning, and one suspects a lot more sweating, before they see the back of “Mr Batting”.