Jason Mohammed scored his third first class century for Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night and celebrated as if it was his first.
The right-hand middle order batsman drove Combined Campuses and Colleges off-spinner Ryan Austin through the covers for four and then threw his helmet high into the sky before saluting the small crowd that turned up for the opening day of the Regional Four-day championship day/night fixture at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.
The T&T skipper Rayad Emrit also reached triple figures late on day one, scoring his third century at this level, 100 off 170 balls with eight fours and four sixes, as T&T reached 328 for four at stumps after they were put in to bat by CCC.
Emrit’s celebration of the milestone was more subdued than Mohammed’s, but Mohammed’s passion was understandable after he endured criticism last season after getting to triple figures against the same opposition before falling for zero in five of his next eight innings.
Mohammed was unbeaten on 149 yesterday, which came off 241 balls and included 17 fours and three sixes.
He and Emrit put on 226 runs for the fourth wicket to put the hosts in control before the T&T skipper guided a delivery from off-spinner Steven Jacobs into the hands of Kyle Corbin at first slip.
With the first session being affected by rain, the players had to endure a near three-hour final session and Mohammed, who batted for more than five hours, described his knock as one of his best for the national team.
It is his highest score in first-class cricket, eclipsing his previous best of 138 scored against the CCC at the Oval last year.
“I think it was one of my better innings at this level. Before I got to my hundred it was a chanceless innings but after I got there, I had a couple chances but I think it is my best hundred so far and I am just happy to do that and get my team in a good position,” he told the Express.
“I had a century against them last year and I had a couple of scores leading up to this one so I am just happy to carry on to get a hundred in this game. It was tough when I went in to bat but I knew once I got myself set, I could score pretty freely and that was my game-plan and it worked out fine,” he added.
The T&T skipper said Mohammed’s presence in the middle also helped him as well.
“It was a bit wet and the spinners were not getting much off the ball. The ball was just sliding. It is good conditions for batting and I must say well done to Jason. With him there, it made it a lot easier for me,” said Emrit.
About his own knock, Emrit, who struggled with back spasms on the way to his hundred, and was dropped on 98, said, “I was just happy to score a century. That was my goal coming into the game.”
“It has been in the back of my mind throughout to get another big score and I just want to thank God because without him nothing is possible,” he added.
While the T&T batting was good, the CCC bowling was extremely poor, with pacer Dwayne Sealy bowling 19 no balls and two wides in ten overs. His new-ball partner Jermaine Levy overstepped four times and sent down one wide as extras amounted to 48 at the end of day one.
T&T vs CCC
T&T 1st Inns
A Barath c wkpr Walton b Reifer.....12
E Lewis retired hurt..........................0
DM Bravo b Reifer..........................10
J Mohammed not out...................149
K Pollard c wkpr Walton b Dewar.....4
R Emrit c Corbin b Jacobs............100
S Katwaroo not out...........................4
Extras (NB24, W4, LB10, B10).......48
TOTAL (for four wickets; 85 overs)....328
To bat: Khan, Jaggernauth, Jaipaul, Gabriel
Wickets at: 43 (Barath), 56 (Bravo), 80 (Pollard), 306 (Emrit)
BOWLING: Sealy 10-0-54-0 (2w, 19nb); Levy 10-1-36-0 (1w, 4nb); Austin 21-4-52-0; Reifer 14-4-47-2 (1w, 1nb); Dewar 8-0-43-1; Jacobs 10-2-42-1; Thomas 5-2-11-0; Hodge 7-1-23-0
Toss: Won by CCC, who elected to bowl first
Umpires: J Wilson, T Ahmed