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Skipper steadies innings

Roger Seepersad

Skipper steadies innings

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Port of Spain – Kraigg Brathwaite stroked his way into the history books yesterday.

On a day when rain wreaked havoc in most of the country, it barely grazed the Queen’s Park Oval in the capital of Port of Spain, where the Barbados skipper was hard at work frustrating the Trinidad and Tobago bowlers on his way to his ninth first-class century.

The stubborn Bajan right-hander batted throughout the day to score 115 not out, the first century of this inaugural tournament, and in the process helped the Barbados Pride recover from 85 for four, to reach 209 for four at stumps on the opening day of their West Indies Cricket Board Professional Cricket League four-day match against the T&T Red Force.

Brathwaite also shared an unbroken 124-run stand with Shane Dowrich, who eventually reached his half-century minutes before play was called off at 5 p.m. due to bad light with eight overs still left in the day’s play.

In overcast conditions, T&T skipper Rayad Emrit won the toss and sent Barbados in to bat. The decision seemed to be a good one, with Marlon Richards grabbing three wickets in the first session to push the Bajans onto the back foot.

Opening batsman Omar Phillips was the first to go, just about half hour into the first session, edging one to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin with the score on 22.

Dwayne Smith, who came in at number three, and Jonathan Carter followed in similar fashion for ten and zero, respectively, before Roston Chase resisted with his skipper Brathwaite to take the Bajans to lunch at 85 for three.

Shannon Gabriel struck with the fifth ball after the break, trapping Chase lbw for 24 to bring Dowrich to the crease but that was the last time the Red Force would be celebrating yesterday.

Dowrich was a last-minute replacement for Shai Hope, who was unable to take part in Barbados training session on Wednesday and Thursday due to illness.

The wicketkeeper batsman, along with his skipper, then frustrated the hosts for the remainder of the second session, which was briefly interrupted by rain.

The showers came at 1:33 p.m. just after Brathwaite reached his 50 off 94 balls, causing a 37-minute delay but that did little to unsettle the Bajan batsmen, who seemed comfortable against the T&T bowling attack, which also included leg-spinner Imran Khan, left-arm orthodox spinner Akeal Hosein and off-spinner Jason Mohammed.

Emrit tried eight bowlers, including spinners Yannick Ottley and Yannic Cariah, but all failed to break the Brathwaite/Dowrich partnership, which had reached 68 by the time tea was taken with the score on 153 for four.

The T&T bowling did not look threatening in the final session and it was almost a formality that the two Bajan batsmen would reach their respective milestones with ease.

Brathwaite reached triple figures with a drive through the covers having faced a total 256 balls after close to five hours in the middle. He hit nine fours.

Dowrich faced 161 balls and batted for more than three hours, hitting five fours on his way to eighth first-class half century.

Play resumes at 9:30 a.m. today.