Miller, Smith share centre stage as Scorpions hold edge

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica Scorpions captain Nikita Miller gave his side the early edge when he triggered another inexplicable Windward Islands Volcanoes batting collapse to overshadow Devon Smith’s third century of the season in the Regional 4-Day Championship on Thursday.

Miller, the most successful bowler in the history of the West Indies first-class championship, captured 5-60 from 29 overs with his steady left-arm spin, as the Volcanoes were bowled out for 200 in their first innings on the first day of their fifth-round match at Sabina Park.

Left-hander Smith, the most prolific batsman in Windies first-class history, slammed an undefeated 116 and was the only Volcanoes batsman that offered stiff resistance to the Scorpions’ bowling.

Taryck Gabriel made 23 and was the only other Volcanoes batsman to pass 20, as the visitors made four changes to their line-up from the previous match.

John Campbell, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, supported Miller in the demolition of the Volcanoes batting with 3-38 from 14 overs.

Campbell was not out on 37 and Trevon Griffith was not out on five, as the Scorpions reached 43 without loss in reply when stumps were drawn.

Miller, playing only his second match of the season, due to a medical procedure during the off-season, has quickly proved his worth to the Scorpions.

He collected 10 wickets in the previous match against Leeward Islands Hurricanes and worked his way through the feeble Volcanoes batting after he belatedly brought himself into the attack on a pitch that was offering assistance to the spin bowlers from early.

Smith, whose 344 runs prior to the start of the match was the second highest aggregate for the season, also proved how invaluable he has been to the Volcanoes.

He became the first batsman this season to pass 400 runs and batted just under five hours for his 26th Regional 4-Day and 31st first-class career hundred that came from 254 balls and included seven fours and four sixes.

Campbell gave Scorpions early success, when he had Tyrone Theophile, the Volcanoes captain and Smith’s long-standing opening partner, caught at leg-slip for 16 in the first hour.

The part-time off-spinner struck again following the drinks break, when Roland Cato fell in the same manner for six.

Smith and Gabriel carried the Volcanoes to lunch on 84 for two, but things started to unravel for the visitors once Miller introduced himself following the interval.

Smith reached his 50 before Miller bowled Gabriel to end a third-wicket partnership of 54 and the floodgates opened as the Volcanoes plunged from 115 for three to 162 for eight at tea.

After leg-spinner Damion Jacobs had Donwell Hector caught in the deep for seven to leave Volcanoes 126 for four, Miller trapped Kyle Mayers lbw for 15 and Dennis Smith caught close to the wicket for a duck before the visitors reached 150.

After they passed that milestone, Miller removed Shane Shillingford for one before Audy Alexander was run out for a duck, as Smith coasted to tea on 85.

After the break, Smith reached 90 before Campbell removed debutant Kenneth Dember for five and it was touch-and-go to see if the discarded West Indies opener would reach his landmark.

He duly brought up the hundred with his final four before Sherman Lewis gave a return catch to Miller to bring the innings to a close.

Volcanoes brought Hector, Dennis Smith, Dember and Alexander in to replace Kirk Edwards, Kavem Hodge, Gian Benjamin and Ray Jordan, while Scorpions replaced Garth Garvey, Dennis Bulli and Oshane Thomas with Griffith, Fabian Allen and Reynard Leveridge.

Scorpions – fifth in the standings on 36.6 points – gained two bowling points, but no pace bowling points and Volcanoes – last on 18.4 points – has so far added one batting point.

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