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Bajans scent victory

Wayne Holder

Bajans scent victory

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BARBADOS’ bowlers opened the door and have left the batsmen the task of closing it in the faces of the visiting Trinidad & Tobago team today when the hosts resume their second innings needing 85 more runs with seven wickets in hand for a come-from-behind victory.
Starting the day on 254 for seven, Barbados were bowled out for 279 off 80.3 overs in reply to Trinidad & Tobago’s first innings total of 338 all out off 96.5 overs to concede a first innings deficit of 59.
But Barbados rebounded to rout a depleted T&T batting lineup for 119 off 39 overs on the penultimate day of the Regional 4-Day cricket match at?Kensington Oval yesterday.
The Bajans, set a winning target of 179, closed on 94 for three with opener Kraigg Brathwaite unbeaten on 26 and night-watchman Kemar Roach, not yet off the mark. Brathwaite has so far faced 99 balls and counted two boundaries in 155 minutes batting and holds the key to whether Barbados will reach their victory target.
It didn’t take long after the resumption yesterday for Roach to be leg before wicket to off-spinner Sunil Narine without adding to his overnight score of six to give the 23-year-old off-spinner his third successive five-wicket haul for the season.
Slower ball
Tino Best (13 not out) and fellow fast bowler Fidel Edwards added a further 20 for the ninth wicket before the latter was bowled by a slower ball from medium-pacer Rayad Emrit for 17. This brought the innings to a close as injured wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was unable to bat.
Narine, playing his fifth first-class match, was the leading wicket taker with five for 78 off 32 overs.
Pacers Edwards and Best came out firing and made life most uncomfortable for the T&T opening pair Adrian Barath and Justin Guillen when the visitors started their second innings.
Left-hander Guillen edged a lifting delivery from Edwards to be caught low down at second slip by Christopher Jordan in the fifth over and Best forced Barath to retire hurt, striking the diminutive right hander on the right hand.
Jordan, this time with the ball, brought the home team more success by having Jason Mohammed caught in the slips by substitute fielder Shamarh Brooks before Darren Bravo and skipper Denesh Ramdin saw the “Trinis” to lunch on 38 for two.
The experienced pair appeared relatively untroubled in putting together 45 for the third wicket until Bravo drove loosely  at left arm spinner Sulieman Benn and was caught by Barbados captain Kirk Edwards at short midwicket.
Bravo’s wicket proved to be the pivotal one as his demise triggered a terminal collapse in which six wickets tumbled for 38 runs in 14.5 overs in the afternoon session.
The last three of those wickets went to a re-energised Best, who was brought back into the attack at the northern end after allrounders Imran Khan and Emrit had been quickly despatched, the former run out and the latter lbw to Benn (2-38).
Best (3-31) had Narine(16) and Ramdin for the topscore of 37, both caught in the slip cordon and with Barath and Lendl Simmons, nursing a broken finger unable to bat, finished off the innings by clean bowling a retreating Atiba Allert.
Like their Barbadian counterparts, Trinindad & Tobago pacers Shannon Gabriel and Allert enjoyed the generous bounce offered by the pitch to unsettle the Barbadian openers.
Lefthanded Omar Phillips survived an appeal by the “Trinis” for a catch at the wicket off Allert’s bowling only to be adjudged leg before wicket in the same over.
Brathwaite, too, had his anxious moments particularly against the luckless Gabriel who got the new ball to lift disconcertingly.
However, once settled in, skipper Kirk Edwards grabbed the initiative away from the bowlers in a fluent display of orthodox strokeplay against both pace and spin.
He won the early battle with “mystery spinner” Narine, off whose first over he stroked two elegant boundaries including an exquisite drive through mid-off as he advanced down the track.
The West Indies pair took their partnership to 66 before, almost against the run of play Edwards, attempting a lofted drive back over the bowler’s head was caught by Allert at midon off Emrit’s bowling.
Ramdin immediately went on the attack, reintroducing Gabriel and Narine, who captured Ryan Hinds’ wicket in the day’s penultimate over, the left hander touching a ball outside offstump into stand-in wicketkeeper Darren Bravo’s gloves.