Guyana dominated Trinidad and Tobago for most of the second day of their regional four-day contest yesterday until Sunil Narine flipped the script in the final session to put the hosts in full control.
The spinner finished with six for 38 to help the hosts close in on first innings points as Guyana slipped from a strong position of 156 for one to 195 for nine at the close, still 124 runs behind T&T's first innings of 319 all out.
Narine went into overdrive in the final hour at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain yesterday, picking up six wickets in five overs to put Guyana on the back foot.
Bowling from the Brian Lara Pavilion End, he worked his magic on the Guyanese batsman, ending a dangerous second-wicket partnership between Leon Johnson and teenage opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul, which was threatening to take the game away from T&T.
Johnson led Guyana's reply, top-scoring with 87 and sharing a 126-run stand with Chanderpaul (T), son of West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, to put the visitors on top.
Johnson came to the crease after Assad Fudadin had given Guyana a brisk start, taking the attack to the T&T pacers, particularly Gabriel who was sent to the ropes with regularity whenever he was short or wide.
Fudadin scored 29 off 32 balls and all six of his boundaries came off Gabriel. But it was the pacer who had the final say, trapping Fudadin lbw with 30 runs on the board.
Guyana dominated the rest of the post lunch session with Johnson picking up where Fudadin left off, punishing the T&T bowlers for anything off target.
At the other end Chanderpaul (T) was being examined by Gabriel.
Gabriel hit the left-hander on the arm before the batsman cut one back onto his pads and then edged one that wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin dived for but could not hold on to.
He survived the inquisition and went on to make a patient 42 off 138 balls, spending 224 minutes at the crease before he became the first wicket of an afternoon collapse started by Narine's spell from the Pavilion End.
The T&T off-spinner had Chanderpaul (T) caught by Dwayne Bravo in the slips with the score on 156.
The Guyanese lost eight wickets for 25 runs from that point on with Dwayne Bravo also helping the collapse along with his two for 37.
Narine also got Chanderpaul senior, caught by Darren Bravo at forward short leg before bowling Johnson to put the visitors on the ropes.
While their batting flopped in the final session, it was an improved bowling performance by the Guyanese pacers that helped the visitors get back in the game in the morning session after T&T looked set to score over 350.
Ronsford Beaton and Paul Wintz pegged the hosts back as T&T lost their last five wickets with just 50 runs being added to their overnight tally of 269 for five.
A threatening partnership between T&T skipper Ramdin and allrounder Imran Khan, which started just before tea on Wednesday, gave the home side the belief they could get a huge total, but it was not to be.
Ramdin and Khan, who came together with T&T on 182 for five, added 12 before Khan, who started day two on 41, edged one to Fudadin in the slip cordon to give Wintz his first wicket of the match. Khan added just three to his overnight score and fell just one run short of bringing up a century stand with his skipper.
Two runs later, Ramdin was on his way back to the pavilion.
Ramdin, 75 at the start, added 14 before he was caught behind by Derwin Christian off Wintz.
Once they continue bowling well, Ramdin and his men could be back in the middle early today.