SABINA?PARK, KINGSTON – Former Test opening batsmen Chris Gayle and Devon Smith endured failures as 13 wickets fell on an eventful opening day of the 2012 regional first-class cricket season at Sabina Park yesterday.
Left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin’s five-wicket haul sent champions Jamaica sprawling for just 180, with the 32-year-old Gayle, who has scored 13 Test tons, falling for just two.
However, Jamaica, kings of Caribbean cricket for the last four years, hit back with three Windwards Islands scalps before stumps.
Windwards were 49 for three with Smith, the West Indies’ leading batsman in last year’s World Cup, gone for 12.
Mathurin, who played a single Twenty20 for West Indies against England last September, took five for 34 as Jamaica, sent in by Windwards, collapsed from a seemingly comfortably position of 106 for three after lunch.
Left-hander Brendan Nash, discarded by West Indies selectors after a lean patch last year, held the innings together with a patient, unbeaten 49, while captain Tamar Lambert got 26 and Donovan Pagon, 23.
In their turn at the crease, the Windwards started well to reach 31 without loss but then lost three wickets for 18 runs, as medium pacer David Bernard Jr claimed two for nine from four overs.
Looking for an unprecedented fifth straight title, Jamaica begun shakily when Gayle edged left-arm seamer Kenroy Peters to Keddy Lesporis at slip.
Opener Simon Jackson (18) and Pagon added 43 for the second wicket before Jackson was caught at fine leg attempting to sweep Mathurin.
Pagon, who hit two fours and a six off 42 balls, gave West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford a return catch with just six runs added, leaving the hosts in slight disarray at 56 for three.
Nash and Lambert then combined to steady the innings, posting 50 for the fourth wicket, and seeing Jamaica to lunch without any further loss at 73 for three.
The Australian-born Nash hit one four overall in an innings lasting 161 balls, while Lambert faced 60 balls and cracked two fours and two sixes.
Johnson Charles (24) and Smith posted 31 for the first wicket but once the latter was smartly held at second slip by Jackson off Bernard, the Windwards stuttered and stumbled to the close. (CMC/MK)