Ambris ton puts Windwards in driver’s seat

Sunil Ambris driving through the covers during his top knock of 114

A maiden century from Sunil Ambris, reinforced by an unbeaten half-century from Windward Islands captain Liam Sebastian gave the visitors the upper hand over Guyana on day one of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional 4-day third round match yesterday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.

The 20-year-old former West Indies U-15/19 player cracked 17 fours in his debut first-class three-figure score of 114 from 208 deliveries and was the cornerstone of his team for the majority of the innings. Sebastian who was left unbeaten on 60, brought up his 9th first-class

Sunil Ambris driving through the covers during his top knock of 114
Sunil Ambris driving through the covers during his top knock of 114

half-century off 117-balls and battled for 187 minutes. The two shared a 156-run 5th wicket partnership after joining forces when their team was teetering at 107 for 4.

The Windwards were left well placed on 289 for 6 at stumps on day one with Sebastian and Alton Bobb on 4 at the crease. West Indies Test spinner Veerasammy Permaul continued his wizardry with the ball claiming 3-69, while Chris Barnwell picked up two wickets and Devendra Bishoo one.

Earlier, the two openers Devon Smith (28) and Tyrone Theophile (42) shared an opening stand of 65, having started off on cruise mode to bring up their 50 in the 18th over. Smith struck fours boundaries before he provided a catch to Assad Fudadin in a short mid-on position off the bowling of Permaul, while Theophile who was rewarded a life by Fudadin’s failing to complete an easy catch, was a bit more aggressive striking four fours and a six off fast-bowler Keon Joseph.

Sunil Ambris celebrating his debut century against Guyana yesterday
Sunil Ambris celebrating his debut century against Guyana yesterday

Amends were however made when he was removed by the left-arm spinner who had him trapped LBW. Permaul then claimed his third victim in the following over when Keddy Lesporis (0) edged a delivery to keeper Anthony Bramble as the Windwards went from 65 for 1 to 78 for 3.

At the lunch break the visitors were 85 for 3 with Ambris and Romel Currency (15) in the middle seeking to rebuild the solid start after the dramatic collapse but Bishoo struck in the 44th over removing Currency, flinging the Windward Islands further into a ditch.

Despite the fall of wickets, Ambris continued along his merry way and crept five runs closer to his maiden half-century at the drinks break. The Windwards brought up their 150 shortly after the resumption, as Ambris raised his bat after 115 minutes and 107 balls, signalling his 50 which he brought up with a four.

Veerasammy Permaul’s magic was not enough to spellbind the Windwards
Veerasammy Permaul’s magic was not enough to spellbind the Windwards

Before the tea break Ambris and his captain quickly progressed to 186 for 4, compliments of boundaries off Bishoo’s and Deonarine’s overs. They motored on in similar fashion during the last session of the first day’s play, gaining a psychological advantage over their opponents by safely reaching 200 runs in the 77th over with six wickets in hand.

Sebastian was then given a life on 33 by Fudadin, the culprit of yet another dropped catch, this time off the bowling of Chris Barnwell. Nevertheless the pair marched along and Ambris took a special liking to Joseph, hammering three fours off his over, the third which raced to the third-man boundary taking him to 103 which was celebrated in jubilant fashion along with his skipper.

The 87th over saw Barnwell producing double strikes to remove Ambris and Lyndon James. After he failed to hold onto a return catch, the all-rounder then compensated for his mistake with the very next delivery when he had the right-handed Ambris trapped LBW. James was dismissed in similar fashion for a duck with the following ball, as Guyana sought to pull things back.

Sebastian then brought up his 117-ball half-century with a boundary which was struck straight back over the head of Barnwell. At stumps the Windwards were well placed, heading into day two where wickets in hand could be vital for a 300-plus score.

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