Trinidad and Tobago middle-order batsman Jason Mohammed defied a strong Windward Islands bowling performance to hit his sixth first class half century to help the hosts recover from a poor start to post a competitive first innings total of 222 on the opening day of their regional four-day match, yesterday.
On a green Queen’s Park Oval pitch in Port of Spain, the hosts were sent in and quickly lost their most in-form batsman, left-hander Evin Lewis, who scored two centuries in the trials leading up to the game. Number three Darren Bravo, who has been struggling for runs, also departed.
That is when Mohammed flipped the script and gradually started to rebuild the innings, hitting 73 before skipper Rayad Emrit (28) and all-rounder Yannic Cariah (24) ensured the hosts finished the day with one batting bonus point in the bag as they passed the 200-run mark.
Pacer Delorn Johnson took advantage of the green surface, picking up five for 48, removing the top two T&T batsmen before returning late in the day to send back the last three. Spinner Alston Bobb chipped in with four for 53 as the Windwards claimed three bowling bonus points.
The Windwards faced two overs and ended on 12 without loss at stumps.
When T&T batted, they would have been relieved to see Mohammed get some runs knowing that the batsman’s previous eight innings amounted to just 17 and in five of those he failed to get off the mark.
Yesterday, his innings was full of fight. He faced 164 balls and batted for more than three hours, hitting ten fours. The handful of spectators would have appreciated the knock although he fell short of his century.
Mohammed and Adrian Barath survived some testing bowling in the first session with Barath taking his chances with some shots in the air over slips and others all along the ground through the covers as they consolidated to take the score from 17 for two to 67 without further loss at the luncheon interval.
After the break, the Windwards found a way back, breaking the 68-run stand when Barath chased a wide delivery from Johnson and edged behind to wicket-keeper Lindon James for 39 (103 balls).
Mohammed and Steven Katwaroo put on 55 in the remainder of the session but did not really threaten the Windwards, who shored up their hold on the match when they removed the T&T wicket-keeper on the stroke of tea, Katwaroo stumped for 20 off Bobb with the score on 140.
That opened the door for another T&T slide as the next three batsmen, including Mohammed, were dismissed by Bobb with T&T adding just 13 runs to the score.
Five balls after the tea interval, Mohammed departed after stretching forward to defend against Bobb and popping one up to Romel Currency at silly point.
Emrit joined with Cariah, and they shared in an exciting 51-run stand in the final session before the T&T skipper was bowled by Johnson. The T&T innings closed shortly after.
Today it will be the turn of the T&T bowlers to inspire their teammates.
T&T vs Windward Islands
T&T 1st Innings
A Barath c wk James b Johnson 39
E Lewis lbw Johnson 2
DM Bravo c wk b Pascal 1
J Mohammed c Currency b Bobb 73
S Katwaroo stp James b Bobb 20
I Khan c wk James b Bobb 4
A Hosein c Lesporis b Bobb 7
Y Cariah c wk James b Johnson 24
R Emrit b Johnson 28
M Richards c wk James b Johnson 15
S Gabriel not out 2
Extras (nb 3, w 1, lb 3) 7
TOTAL (all out; 85.4 overs) 222
Wickets at: 8 (Lewis), 17 (Bravo), 85 (Barath), 140 (Katwaroo), 141 (Mohammed), 150 (Khan), 153 (Hosein), 204 (Emrit), 207 (Cariah), 222 (Richards)
Bowling: Pascal 9-1-127-1 (3nb); Johnson 17.4-5-48-5 (1w); Peters 16-6-34-0; Bobb 22-2-53-4; Sebastien 15-5-39-0; Polius 6-1-18-0
Windward Islands 1st Innings
D Smith not out 8
T Theophille not out 4
TOTAL (for no wicket; 2 overs) 12
To bat: Sebastien, Bobb, Currency, James, Johnson, Lesporis, Pascal, Peters, Polius
Bowling: Gabriel 1-0-8-0; Richards 1-0-4-0
Toss: Won by Windward Islands, who elected to bowl first
Umpires: D Ramdhanie, D Mills