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Tamar tops ’em

Philip Hackett

Tamar tops ’em

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A sensational century by Jamaica captain Tamar Lambert gave his side a significant advantage over Barbados and left them poised for a place in the final to contest the Headley/Weekes Trophy after an intriguing battle at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Lambert smashed 121 off 173 balls to lead Jamaica to 302 all out in reply to Barbados’ 245 having resumed the second morning on 52 for one. Batting a second time, in seven overs before the close Barbados lost left-handed opener Omar Phillips for two in reaching 18 for one, still trailing by 39 runs after conceding a first innings lead of 57.
Lambert struck four sixes and 12 fours in an innings spanning 220 minutes, most of it spent in compiling a partnership of 114 with veteran all-rounder Dave Bernard Jr, who scored a disciplined 42.
The pair came together at 140 for six with the visitors struggling against the spin combination of left-arm orthodox bowler Sulieman Benn (five for 102) and off spinner Ashley Nurse (two for 47).
Bernard came to the crease to replace Carlton Baugh but for a stroke of fate could so easily have been coming to the crease in place of Lambert. The portly Jamaican skipper drove a return catch just above the head of Benn but the balls slipped through his fingers and landed on the stumps at the bowler’s end with Baugh backing up too far.
The run out of Baugh for ten seemed a timely wicket for the Bajans as the diminutive wicket keeper/batsman had looked dangerous in a brief innings of ten that included a meaty six. Lambert made full use of his fortune as he took the attack to the bowlers after a watchful start.
Bernard offered steady support fashioning five boundaries in an innings that lasted 143 minutes during which time he faced 110 deliveries. The pair stayed together until Jamaica secured a crucial second batting point by reaching 250. Shortly after, Fidel Edwards trapped Bernard lbw and removed Jerome Taylor caught by Shane Dowrich. Between the two dismissals Benn took the wicket of Nikita Miller as three wickets fell for ten runs.
Lambert cleverly took most of the strike in a last wicket stand with Sheldon Cottrell that produced 38 runs. It helped the skipper to his century and secured a third batting point for Jamaica when the score reached 300.
Lambert’s century came in 211 minutes off 164 balls with three sixes and nine fours. He was last out when the innings ended just after 4:30 p.m. Benn took the final wicket to complete a massive workload which earned him five for 102 from 35 overs.
Earlier, Barbados enjoyed a productive first session taking three wickets as Jamaica added 65 runs off 29 overs. Two of the wickets fell to Benn who bowled unchanged throughout the session. Nurse, who surprisingly had to wait until shortly before lunch for his first bowl of the day had Andre McCarthy caught at midwicket by Kraigg Brathwaite for a duck.
Jermaine Blackwood  who went to lunch on 37 with Jamaica 117 for four and Lambert yet to score, seemed unfortunate to be given out caught at silly point by Phillips off Benn without addition.  Television replays suggested he played the ball into the ground before it was caught by Phillips but umpire Peter Nero upheld the appeal after consultation with umpire Joel Wilson.
The post-lunch session initiated Jamaica’s recovery and Barbados go into day three knowing that an outright win is now essential in order to reach the final scheduled for Saturday.