IN-FORM BATSMEN Kirk Edwards (126) and Ryan Hinds (80 not out) silenced the roar of England Lions as Barbados dominated the first day of the second-round regional four-day Competition match at Kensington Oval yesterday.
The hosts, who won the toss, emerged from an early period of diligent application to plunder 127 in the final session and closed on 276 for the loss of openers Dale Richards and Kraigg Brathwaite.
The Englishmen opted for a four-pronged pace and seam attack on the Kensington pitch, once reputed to be pacy and bouncy, but it offered little assistance to the bowlers.
The England team did enjoy early success, however. The experienced Richards fell victim to clever bowling by Liam Plunkett, back with the team after flying to and from Australia where he had been summoned to senior duty.
Plunkett’s first four deliveries from the Malcolm Marshall end were all slanted into the right-handed batsman from over the wicket. But after the fourth was elegantly driven through mid-on for four, the right-arm pacer pulled his length back and got the next ball to straighten, inducing Richards to nick to wicketkeeper Craig Kesweitter.
Brathwaite, fresh from a maiden regional century in the first round, started in his usual stolid style. However, when Plunkett overpitched on off stump in the fourth over, the 18-year-old right-hander stroked the ball sweetly to the mid-off boundary to get off the mark.
The first hour produced 46 runs in 15 overs as Brathwaite and Edwards settled in on the easy-paced track, while Lions captain James Hildreth tried each of his four pacers in brief spells.
The Englishmen kept up a brisk over-rate, getting through 31 overs in the first session, as the hosts went to lunch on 83 for one, with Brathwaite on 38 off exactly 100 balls, and Edwards 34.
Edwards sought to lift the tempo after the break by taking the attack to the bowlers. He brought up his fifty off 120 balls in 154 minutes’ batting.
The Barbados 100 followed soon after off the second delivery of the 39th over, but two balls later Brathwaite was deceived by a skilfully-disguised slower ball and gave a simple return catch to Jade Dernbach after making 43.
His second-wicket stand with Edwards was worth 95 and laid the platform for the local side’s control as there was to be no more success for the visitors.
Edwards had a close shave in the same over, miscuing an attempted hook shot that fell just wide of the midwicket fielder, and there was further drama after Dernbach was no-balled by umpire Gregory Brathwaite for a high full delivery.
The call ruffled the South African-born seamer and Hildreth promptly removed him from the attack just ahead of the tea interval.
By that time Edwards and Hinds had taken their stand to 49 and the total to 149-2.
Hinds, who simultaneously passed 5 000 runs in regional competition and 7 000 in all first-class cricket early in his innings, took on the role of main aggressor and recorded the first six of the innings by hooking Dernbach, the most lively of the Lions’ bowlers, over backward square-leg.
Fortune smiled on the confident Edwards at 81 when Kieswetter missed a difficult take down the leg side off Plunkett’s bowling with the total on 176 for 2.
A flurry of activity ensued as the Barbados 200 and the 100 partnership came up simultaneously in the 73rd over, while Hinds’ fifty followed soon after.
The 200-mark took 295 minutes, while the century partnership spanned 147 minutes and 210 balls.
The Barbados captain’s half-century was made off 108 balls in 149 minutes batting and included five fours and a six.
On the threshold of a second first-class century, Edwards wasted little time in the 90s. After hitting a four through midwicket, he sashayed down the track to register the century with a disdainfully stroked straight six.
The landmark took three hours and ten minutes’ batting and spanned 233 balls and included seven fours.