The Trinidad and Tobago bowlers fought hard to put the hosts on top, but the batsmen let the advantage slip against the Windward Islands on the first day of the Regional Four-Day semi-final at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain yesterday.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, T&T dismissed the Windwards for 248 but were struggling in their reply, slipping to 36 for three at the close, still trailing by 212 runs.
Pacer Shannon Gabriel (two for 35) put the hosts on top with the first ball of the match, getting rid of Devon Smith after the opening batsmen tried to pull the ball and edged onto his stumps.
The Windwards tried to rebuild the innings with Johnson Charles joining Tyrone Theophille for a 30-run stand before Charles edged Gabriel to Evin Lewis, who took a low catch at second slip.
Theophille then top-edged an attempted pull off Marlon Richards shortly after, with Gabriel taking an easy catch at mid-on as the visitors slipped to 49 for three in the first hour.
However a 63-run fourth-wicket stand between Sunil Ambris and Keddy Lesporis frustrated the hosts until the lunch break.
Four balls before the interval, Imran Khan (four for 59) stepped in to make the breakthrough, bowling Lesporis for 29 as the visitors went to lunch on 112 for four.
The second session was dominated by the Windwards as they added 90 runs to their total with just one more wicket going down.
Ambris was run out early in the session by T&T wicketkeeper and captain Denesh Ramdin before Windwards skipper Liam Sebastien and Romel Currency put on 90 for the sixth wicket with Currency hitting 68 off 120 balls with nine fours, while Sebastien scored 40 off 104 with four boundaries to keep the Windwards in the fight.
They were 202 for five at tea, but 30 minutes into the final session, T&T seized control again thanks to Khan.
The leg-spinner sent back Sebastien and trapped Currency lbw shortly after, to start the Windward’s slide.
From 225 for five, they were all out for 248 with left-arm spinner Ricky Jaipaul (two for 34) getting the final two wickets to end the innings.
However T&T failed to take advantage of the situation, losing two wickets with the score on 33 when they started their reply.
Lendl Simmons gave T&T a quick start but gave it away when he was out caught by Mervin Mathew at deep midwicket as he tried to pull left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson off the first ball of the fifth over.
Johnson then got Darren Bravo with his next delivery as the left-handed batsman guided one straight into the hands of Lesporis at third slip.
Nightwatchman Marlon Richards was the last wicket to fall which left the hosts in further trouble.
Jason Mohammed, zero not out, and Evin Lewis, ten not out, will continue the fight for T&T when the second day starts at 10 a.m. today.