Jonathan Carter found form at the eleventh hour and hit a masterful century but Jamaica are still favourites to record an outright win against the 2014 league champions Barbados and confirm their position in the final to contest the Headley/Weekes Trophy against the Windward Islands next weekend.
By the end of the third day at Kensington yesterday, Jamaica had erased 106 of the 167 required to register an outright win and when play resumes today they have eight wickets in hand to score the 61 still needed.
Carter kept Barbados in the contest after they had trailed by 57 on first innings by stroking a classy 111, his second first class century. The score helped Barbados post a second innings 223, having scored 245 in the first innings to which Jamaica replied with 302.
Resuming on the third morning on 18 for one, Barbados lost Shai Hope within the first 40 minutes when he was comprehensively beaten and bowled by pacer Jerome Taylor having counted four boundaries in an innings of 22.
Carter joined his captain Kraigg Brathwaite and the pair took Barbados within minutes of lunch before leg spinner Damion Jacobs found the outside edge of Brathwaite’s bat to present an easy catch to Nikita Miller at slip. Brathwaite struck two fours in a typically resolute innings of 32 off 83 balls in 139 minutes.
By lunch Carter had reached 40 with Barbados 104 for three and the out of form Kevin Stoute unbeaten on two. Shortly after resumption Stoute advanced down the pitch to hoist Jacobs into the leg side and was stumped by Carlton Baugh for eight as Barbados slumped to 123 for four, holding a slender lead of 66.
For just under an hour wicket keeper/batsman Shane Dowrich (20) gave calm support. Dowrich was lucky to survive a chance to Tamar Lambert at slip as he stuck his bat out to a delivery from Sheldon Cottrell but his luck was short-lived as a couple balls later he repeated the stroke to a similar delivery from the same bowler and Lambert gleefully accepted the catch.
Dowrich and Carter had added 49 for the fifth wicket but there was no major resistance from the second half of the batting line up. Carlos Brathwaite was with his cousin when he reached his century, completing the feat in 207 minutes off 150 balls with a six and seven fours.
The dismissal of Brathwaite, caught at slip by John Campbell of Miller on the stroke of tea taken at 204 for six, triggered a terminal collapse as the last five wickets fell for 19 runs, 31 minutes into the final session.
Ashley Nurse, like the two Brathwaites before him, edged to slip but the most decisive blow was struck when Miller took the wicket of Carter, starting a slide in which the last three wickets fell within the addition of one run.
Carter lifted the left arm spinner to long on where the ball fell into the hands of Jacobs just below the media centre. The fielder appeared to step onto the boundary rope as he tried to maintain his balance but in the absence of electronic evidence Carter’s innings ended having struck a six and eight fours in a knock lasting 235 minutes during which time he faced 167 balls.
Taylor had the best figures of three for 37 and Miller, wicketless in the first innings took three for 52.
Carter was quickly in action again, holding a sharp chance at gully to help Sulieman Benn remove Nkrumah Bonner for a duck with the score on one. When John Campbell drove Benn to Carlos Brathwaite at mid-on Jamaica seemed under pressure at 20 for two, but Jermaine Blackwood and Andre McCarthy launched a bold counter attack to stabilise the innings and put Jamaica well on course for victory.
McCarthy, dropped at slip by Nurse off Benn when two is not out on 41 made off 46 balls with four boundaries. Blackwood is unbeaten on 53 and has so far struck a six and seven fours in 90 minutes at the crease having faced 81 deliveries. The unbroken 86 run stand has put Jamaica in an excellent position to beat Barbados before lunch today.