Tail of woe
IT HAPPENED all too quickly. Barbados failed to collect first innings points for the third time this season after a swift collapse in the face of impressive fast bowling from Jamaica fast bowler Jerome Taylor at Kensington Oval yesterday.
It was virtually unimaginable to predict that the hosts would be denied honours after they reached 287 for five shortly after lunch, pursuing a total of 324 on the third day of their WICB regional four-day cricket match.
Then, as so often happens, one loose stroke caused a terminal decline and all the hard work of gradually eking away at Jamaica’s score through sound, level-headed methods came to nought.
The hosts, resuming on 220 for four, were dismissed for 322, handing the pre-series joint leaders first innings lead by two runs after an unforgettable deterioration in which the last five wickets were swept aside for 35 runs and the last four for 13.
It was enough to cause upset stomachs to those who had just enjoyed a sumptuous Sunday lunch with the expectation that the Bajans could be looking to set a lead of around 100 and try to dictate the game over the last four sessions.
Instead, Barbados now find themselves on the back foot and could possibly be battling to save the match on the final day.
While Jamaica never tried to press the accelerator over the final 42 overs of the day in which Barbados bowled with discipline for the most part, they batted without much bother in reaching 114 for two at the close on the back of a measured, unbeaten 58 from Marlon Samuels.
The lead is now 116, and if Jamaica can score at a run-a-minute in the pre-lunch session today, they will have an advantage of close to 250 at the interval and could be contemplating a declaration that could set for the stage for an exciting finish.
While that possibility might still be a long way off, Barbados will be reflecting on what went so drastically wrong yesterday after a few of their young players combined to carry them to the verge of much needed points.
Jason Holder (41), Roston Chase (31) and Shamarh Brooks (21) made promising starts but none was able to finish off the job. And Taylor, regaining top form after a lay-off with injury, produced some quality bowling that was too good for the Bajans.
While some of those in the stands were still debating whether Barbados were progressing too slowly, Taylor quickly made inroads by snatching four of the last five wickets to end with five for 69 from 23.4 overs.
But it was the seemingly uncomplicated left-arm spin of Brendan Nash that opened the floodgates.
Nash, returning to the field for the first time since sustaining a blow to his right ear from Tino Best on Friday afternoon, delivered a solitary over just before lunch and it was somewhat of a surprise that he was maintained in the attack after the break.
He produced the needed breakthrough after Holder and Chase had put on exactly 50 for the sixth wicket by having the latter caught by Dave Bernard running back from mid-on when he attempted to go over the top.
Having done his job, Nash was soon removed and replaced by Taylor, who started to bring the ball back into the right-handed batsmen with telling effect.
Holder batted responsibly for two-and-a-half hours and Chase was equally solid for almost a similar period when Taylor undid him with an inswinging yorker that cannoned into his leg stump.
All of a sudden, Jamaica were back in it at 309 for seven, and the advantage was theirs when Brooks played on to a ball that cut in and Fidel Edwards, surprisingly sent ahead of Best, fell first ball to a low catch by wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton that required confirmation from the square-leg umpire.
Shane Dowrich helped Barbados with a two and a pulled four off leg-spinner Odean Brown but when Taylor had the chance to bowl at Best, Jamaica completed their fascinating comeback.
Best was palpably lbw shuffling across to another break back.