Trinidad and Tobago bowlers had to work extra hard yesterday on the opening day of the Regional Four-Day Tournament semi-final against Barbados at Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, but in the end their perseverance paid off.
Barbados played patiently in the first two sessions and headed into the tea break with 116 runs on the board for the loss of just three wickets. By the end of the day, they were 208 for eight and captain Denesh Ramdin would have been pleased his bowlers stuck to their task during an arduous day in the field.
To put the Barbados innings in perspective, opener Kraigg Brathwaite faced 147 balls and occupied the crease for 197 minutes for a second highest score of the day--44.
In contrast, the best score came from Jonathan Carter, who slammed 47 off 55 balls after an hour and 20 minutes at the crease in the final session.
Pacer Ravi Rampaul and left-arm spinner Kavesh Kantasingh shared the honours with the ball for T&T.
They combined to bowl more than half of the overs, taking three wickets each. Kantasingh sent down 35 overs, including 14 maidens, while Rampaul delivered 19 overs with five maidens.
After Barbados won the toss and decided to bat, Brathwaite and fellow opener Omar Phillips stuck to the task as they put on 42 runs in 20 overs after surviving testing spells from Rampaul and fellow-pacer Shannon Gabriel.
Rampaul, playing his first match of the tournament after coming back from injury and illness, tested Phillips outside off stump but the Barbados batsman survived, although only for a while.
Kantasingh came into the attack as early at the eighth over and he too put pressure on the batsmen who were reluctant to take any risks. The spinner bowled his first seven overs for only one run and also caused some problems for the batsmen.
Spin was then introduced at both ends half way through the first session and the change brought immediate success.
Aneil Kanhai made the breakthrough in his first over as Phillips edged one straight into the hands of Justin Guillen in the slips.
That brought Kirk Edwards to the crease and the West Indies Test batsman looked like he was settling in for a big score as they went to lunch at 57 for one off 29 overs.
After the break, both batsmen continued to bat slowly as they took the score to 90 before Braithwaite was well caught down the leg-side by wicket-keeper Gibran Mohammed to give Rampaul his first first-class wicket this season.
T&T got one more before tea, with Kyle Hope being sent back lbw to Kantasingh four balls before the interval with the score on 116.
After the break, Edwards was the first wicket to fall, lbw to Gabriel for a very patient 37 which came off 120 balls. He spent close to three hours at the crease.
Things began to fall apart for Barbados in the second half of the final session after Carter livened up proceedings with some solid strikes to the boundary off Gabriel, Kanhai and Rampaul, with the returning pacer having the final say.
Rampaul trapped the left-hander lbw with the score on 175 for six and sent back Javon Searles for one as T&T took the ascendancy.
But Carlos Brathwaite and Sulieman Benn put on 19 for the ninth wicket as Barbados closed the day on a high.
Action resumes today from 10 a.m.