It was pedestrian at times, but the Trinidad and Tobago batsmen put runs on the board after being asked to bat by Guyana captain Veerasammy Permaul yesterday.
The fourth round Regional Four-Day fixture at the Queen's Park Oval was ripe with possibilities, with T&T putting out a batting lineup that included their West Indies contingent. Permaul decided there was enough grass on the Oval strip to gamble on giving his new ball pacers Ronsford Beaton and Paul Wintz a go.
But a close of play T&T total of 269 for five did not represent the end result the Guyanese skipper would have been hoping for. An unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 87 between T&T captain Denesh Ramdin (75, 216 minutes, 13 fours) and Imran Khan (41, 127 minutes, five fours) denied the visitors greater success.
That decision to send T&T in probably pleased the 300 or so spectators who were drawn to the Oval smack in the middle of the week for this opening day. However, despite the overall healthy position, the fans would not have been entirely satisfied with what they saw. Because they did not see enough of their stars.
Lendl Simmons (51, nine fours) and Darren Bravo (66, six fours, two sixes) ought to have got a lot more than their eventual half-centuries, while Adrian Barath, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard made a collective 18. There was nothing from those three for the West Indies selectors to consider for next week's first Test against Zimbabwe.
Barath, with two half-centuries in the previous match against the Leeward Islands, fell to the temptations of the first-change part-time seam of Assad Fudadin, driving at a pitched-up delivery, which he snicked to Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the slips.
This is a special match for Chanderpaul. He is playing for the first time at regional level with his teenage son Tagenarine. Not since Lebrun Constantine and son Learie represented Trinidad and Tobago in the 1922 Inter-Colonial final against Barbados at Bourda in Guyana, has father and son played together in the same team in West Indies cricket.
Yesterday however, the Chanderpauls had to watch as some of the T&T bats failed to make the most of good conditions.
Dwayne Bravo hadn't even scored when he hung his bat at a Permaul delivery wide of off-stump and gave Sarwan at slip a regulation catch three balls before lunch. The senior Bravo had just replaced Lendl Simmons who, after playing with his usual style in adding 68 with Darren Bravo for the second wicket, swung across the left-arm spin of Permaul and top-edged a catch to Chanderpaul senior in the extra-cover region.
And after lunch taken at 105 for three, Pollard, having faced 19 balls for his six, simply lost patience with the nagging straight line of Permaul and launched a catch to Beaton at mid-on.
It was at this stage—115 for four—that Ramdin entered.
He joined Darren Bravo, playing easily, patiently and sometimes when he pierced the off-side field on the drive-- quite prettily. They were wearing down the bowlers under an unrelenting sun, until having got to 66, Bravo erred.
With tea approaching, he tried a cut at a Narsingh Deonarine delivery too close to him and Ramanresh Sarwan at slip held a very sharp catch going down to his right. It was the kind of pick-me-up the Guyanese needed.
But that turned out to be their final success of the day.
Permaul (22-9-58-3) was the best of his side's bowlers. The pacers often didn't get their lengths right, and while Deonarine was steady, Devendra Bishoo did not offer enough variety to trouble good batsmen on this surface. So Ramdin and Khan took their time and then cashed in on some boundaries in the final hour as the bowlers flagged. The second new ball was wasted, prompting Permaul to try Chanderpaul senior with a last over of gentle seam.
Ramdin and Khan did not try anything fancy, though. A full day today is ahead of them.
T&T squad: Denesh Ramdin (Captain), Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Imran khan, Rayad Emrit, Sunil Narine, Amit Jaggernauth, Shannon Gabriel.