TAROUBA, Trinidad, CMC – Guyana Jaguars captain Leon Johnson hit a sparkling, fifth first-class hundred to put the current leaders and reigning three-time champions into the early ascendancy against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force in the Regional 4-Day Championship on Thursday.
Johnson used the hard, true Brian Lara Cricket Ground pitch to fashion a resolute, unbeaten 106 that carried the Jaguars to 245 for two in their first innings at the close, after they decided to bat on the first day of their day/night, key fourth-round match at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground.
The highly-regarded 30-year-old left-hander had gone 26 innings in 15 matches over the last year without scoring a hundred, but he reached his landmark from 201 balls, when he collected two off left-arm fast-medium bowler Daniel St. Clair into the off-side.
Johnson batted for close to five hours and hit 11 fours from 218 balls, sharing a record second-wicket stand with fellow left-hander, opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of former West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, which controlled the flow of play.
The young Chanderpaul fell for 84 following the final refreshments break of the day, Test left-hander Vishaul Singh too, dropped anchor and was not out on 22 at the close, and opener Chandrapaul Hemraj was dismissed early in the day for the same score.
The Red Force bowlers got little assistance from the pitch and the pink-ball failed to make the impact that it does typically in day/night, first-class matches, allowing the Jaguars to move steadily to the close with few or little alarms.
Hemraj batted through most of the first hour to give the Jaguars a steady start with Chanderpaul before he was caught behind off Roshon Primus.
Johnson came to the crease and for just over four hours continued to build the foundation for his side’s total in tandem with the younger Chanderpaul, carrying the Jaguars to 61 for one at lunch and 151 for one at tea.
They put on 174, establishing a new Jaguars second-wicket record against Red Force in the modern era of the West Indies first-class championship (1966 onwards) to eclipse the previous mark of 165 shared coincidentally between two great West Indies left-handers, Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kallicharran, 45 years ago at Queen’s Park Oval.
The young Chanderpaul had struck eight fours in close to five hours of batting, when he played a loose drive at his 236th delivery from St. Clair and edged to the keeper.
Singh came to the crease, ushered Johnson to his hundred and batted through the remainder of the day to put in the early groundwork.
Both sides made one change to their line-ups: left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie replaced fast bowler Romario Shepherd for Jaguars and left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell replaced all-rounder Khary Pierre for Red Force.
Jaguars – top of the standings with 46.6 points – have so far earned one batting point and Red Force – second on 41.4 – have so far added just 0.4 pace bowling points.
JAGUARS 1st Innings
T Chanderpaul c wkpr Jangoo b St. Clair 84
C Hemraj c wkpr Jangoo b Primus 22
*L Johnson not out 106
V Singh not out 22
Extras (b5, nb6) 11
TOTAL (2 wkts, 90 overs) 245
S Chanderpaul, + A Bramble, K Paul, S Rutherford, V Permaul, G Motie, K Joseph yet to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-207
Bowling: Cottrell 14-4-37-0; St. Clair 16-5-48-1 (nb1); Primus 12-1-46-1 (nb5); Charles 22-7-47-0; Webster 3-1-7-0; Mohammed 11-3-20-0; Khan 12-0-35-0
RED FORCE: *K Hope, +A Jangoo, Y Cariah, J Mohammed, D Ramdin, T Webster, R Primus, I Khan, S Cottrell, B Charles, D St. Clair
Umpires: Z Bassarath, J Blades (Barbados)
Match referee: H Bruce
Reserve umpire: L Rajkumar
Guyana 484/8 dec., T&T 3-0 at lunch
Guyana’s Leon Johnson recorded his highest first-class score, 165, yesterday to pilot the Guyana Jaguars to 484/8 declared on the second day of their four-day regional match against the Trinidad and Tobago’s Red Force, in Trinidad yesterday.
Johnson’s fifth first-class ton, gave his team a solid platform and he received support from out of favour test batsman Vishaul Singh who recorded and even century (100) while Tagenarine Chanderpaul scored 84 in the Cricket West Indies top-of-the-table Digicel four-day clash .
Trinidad and Tobago were three without loss at lunch in the day/night encounter.