It took just one ball yesterday morning for Trinidad and Tobago to seal first innings points. And after Shannon Gabriel knocked back Ronsford Beaton's off-stump with the day's first delivery, it was all about how soon T&T would set Guyana a target to chase to win this fourth round Regional Four-Day fixture at the Queen's Park Oval.
Having established a lead of 124 runs after the Guyanese had been limited to 195 in their first innings replying to T&T's 319, Denesh Ramdin's men pressed on to 251 for two.
And chasing an improbable 376 for victory, the visitors reached the close of the third day on 54 for the loss of Assad Fudadin, bowled by Rayad Emrit.
It was a sleepy kind of day up until tea. But the gathering of diehards woke right up when Kieron Pollard came to the crease. You could hear him coming. The noise of the spectators gathered on the southern side of the ground alerted the unsuspecting.
With the T&T total on a sturdy 165 for two when Lendl Simmons departed after his second half-century of the match (70, six fours, one six), Pollard was promoted above Dwayne Bravo to pick up the tempo with the lead on 289.
He didn't waste time.
"Boom, boom, boom, boom; bang, bang, bang!" In a mere 32 balls, the big man with a broad white hat for shade, put willow to leather for four sixes and three fours to reach 54 not out as the T&T lead raced to 375. Then somewhat contentiously, Ramdin declared the innings with Darren Bravo (48, two fours, two sixes) just two runs short of his second fifty of the game. There were pleading gestures from Pollard to the pavilion and little movement from Bravo before they finally walked off.
The fans were probably unhappy too, to see the fun end.
It had been an exciting final 52 minutes of the T&T innings as Pollard, ably supported by the more elegant Bravo with two straight sixes of his own—the second one off Veerasammy Permaul landing well inside King George V Park—posted 86 for the third wicket.
The physicality of Pollard's batting, the sheer force with which he can dismiss balls, whets the appetite. And yesterday, another cricket crowd savoured the experience as his swings and slaps off the spinners reached the boundary and beyond in two blinks.
Pollard was able to stay in character as a result of the solid first-wicket foundation laid by Simmons and Adrian Barath (56, seven fours) who posted 144 before an excellent diving catch to his right at backward point by subsititute fielder Shemroy Barrington got rid of Barath in the second session as he tried to push on.
Barrington had been on the field because pacer Paul Wintz was forced off with an injury after bowling just one ball. Perhaps as a result, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was called upon to bowl his gentle seamers for seven very cheap overs (7-5-5-0) and could well have got Barath lbw when he was only six. Barath survived the appeal however, and with Simmons, wore the bowlers down on the placid pitch, the batsmen eschewing their aggressive instincts in favour of occupation.
When they departed, however—Simmons to a top-edged catch to the wicketkeeper—their replacements played naturally.
This morning, Tagenarine Chanderpaul (27) who copped a blow to the helmet from Emrit yesterday afternoon, will resume with nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo, hoping also to play his natural, steady game, and help salvage some points for his team.