Trinidad and Tobago were facing an uphill task at the end of yesterday’s second day’s play against Windward Islands at Queen’s Park Oval in their West Indies Cricket Board Regional Four-Day Tournament semi-final.
Denesh Ramdin, the T&T wicket-keeper and captain, took the bold step to declare with the hosts 140 for eight, a deficit of first innings 108 runs, with his team in danger of surrendering the match after a pitiful batting display. And the Windwards added 88 more runs for a lead of 196, with eight wickets still in hand.
Eight devastating overs from right arm fast-medium bowler Mervin Mathew went for just 19 runs and four maidens, but more importantly, ripped out the heart of T&T’s middle order. With a little diligent application today, the Windwards, who were beaten by T&T earlier in the season at the same venue, can bat the home side out of the match.
By the close Devon Smith comfortably unbeaten on 44, with nightwatchman Sunil Ambris (13 not out) the other batsman. Smith was content to wait for the bad balls and dispatch them, including an attractive straight drive off Shannon Gabriel, but lost Tyrone Theophille and Johnson Charles (both 11) late on. Still, T&T will have to bowl very well in the opening session this morning to give themselves a chance of getting back into the match.
T&T’s attempt to clamber back into the contest and their gamble to end their innings prematurely were the products of poor batting, not helped by several rain interruptions and overcast conditions that Mathew exploited. T&T had already returned to the pavilion at stumps on opening day, having dug themselves into a hole at 36 for three, with Lendl Simmons (19), Darren Bravo (duck) and nightwatchman Marlon Richards (two) all dismissed.
To the dismay of home fans, that hole got deeper. Left-handed opener Evin Lewis, in fact, was the only batsman that showed the spirit to survive the tough patches, and he remained unbeaten on 47, three short of his fifty. He faced 126 balls, and score five fours and a six. After watching three wickets fall on Day One, Lewis, with Jason Mohammed, tried to revive the T&T innings. But Mohammed was not pleased to be given out lbw to left-armer Kenroy Peters for 19. That partnership had yielded 31 runs.
The T&T skipper joined Lewis and looked purposeful in rebuilding. Ramdin (25) put away any errant balls for four, and was looking quite good before Mathew intervened, ending the partnership that looked to be rebuilding T&T’s final hopes.
Ramdin became the first of four scalps to fall to Mathew’s nagging line on or around off stump, all caught behind by Johnson Charles. He was followed by Queen’s Park all-round Akeal Hosein for a first-ball duck but Rayad Emrit held up the Windwards for a bit with a counter-attacking cameo, his 21 costing 20 balls, with four fours in just over a half an hour.
Again, he hung his bat outside off and offered Mathew a wicket. In and out after facing five balls was Imran Khan, another Mathew victim, and soon after, Ramdin declared and T&T were back in the field. The collapse T&T would have hoped for never came, so they will have to come back today and try to turn the match in their favour the hard way.
Triniad & Tobago vs Windwards Islands
Windwards 1st Innings 248
T&T 1st Innings (O/N 36-3)
L Simmons c M Mathew b D Johnson 19
E Lewis not out 47
D Bravo c K Lesporis b D Johnson 0
M Richards c T Theophille b L Sebastien 2
J Mohammed lbw K Peters 19
D Ramdin c J Charles b M Mathew 25
A Hosein c J Charles b M Mathew 0
R Emrit c J Charles b M Mathew 21
I Khan c J Charles b M Mathew 2
S Gabriel not out 0
Extras (5lb) 5
Total (for 8 wkts decl; 47 overs) 140
Did not bat: Ricky Jaipaul.
Fall of wickets: 1-33 (Simmons), 2-33 (Bravo), 3-36 (Richards), 4-67 (Mohammed), 5-104 (Ramdin), 6-104 (Hosein), 7-138 (Emrit), 8-140 (Khan).
Bowling: Pascal 5-0-26-0; Johnson 10-2-44-2; Peters 14-6-81-1; Sebastien 10-2-28-1; Mathew 8-4-19-4.
Windwards 2nd Innings
D Smith not out 44
T Theophille lbw R Emrit 11
J Charles c A Hosein b Jaipaul 11
S Ambris 13
Extras (4b 5lb) 9
Total (2 wkts; 23 overs) 88
Did not bat: Romel Currency, Liam Sebastien, Delorn Johnson, Keddy Lesporis, Mervin Mathew, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters.
Fall of wickets: 1-45 (Theophille), 2-60 (Charles).
Bowling: Gabriel 5-0-21-0; Richards 4-1-8-0; Simmons 1-0-2-0; Emrit 5-0-23-1; Jaipaul 6-0-18-1; Khan 2-0-7-0.