Brooks strokes way to ton
The silky stroke play and tender touch of the stylish Shamarh Brooks was on show at Kensington Oval yesterday as the Barbados Pride captain gracefully logged his fourth first-class century.
The 29-year-old Brooks attractively fashioned a polished unbeaten 104 while steering Barbados Pride to a pleasing position of 261 for two off 90 overs on the opening day of their final-round Digicel Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day match against Jamaica Scorpions.
His knock was adorned with 15 fours off 206 balls in 280 minutes and would’ve certainly impressed West Indies’ selector and former Guyana batsman Travis Dowlin, watching in the President’s Box.
Left-handed opener Shayne Moseley also made a valuable contribution to the Pride’s total as he batted diligently for a solid 79 off 146 balls in 197 minutes while striking 13 fours.
Moseley seemed set for a second century in an encouraging debut first-class season before gifting his wicket by driving part-time spinner Andre McCarthy into the hands off Paul Palmer at mid-off after taking his aggregate to 543 runs.
Jonathan Carter, who replaced Moseley just before tea, adopted a cautious approach for his 36 not out off 122 balls in 185 minutes as he was overshadowed by Brooks’ brilliance during their unbroken third-wicket partnership of 96.
Earlier, Kraigg Brathwaite counted six fours in fluently moving to 32 in an opening stand of 57 with Moseley, who took 26 balls to get off the mark after Barbados Pride won the toss and batted.
Brathwaite was dismissed in uncharacteristic fashion when he was caught at mid-on, trying to lift off-spinner John Campbell over the top.
Thereafter, Moseley, Brooks and Carter, all carried their tournament aggregate past the 500-run mark. Brooks now has 570 runs while Carter has 527.
Brooks, who is sweet on the eye and a joy to watch when he is in a groove, unfurled an array of scintillating shots on both sides of the wicket.
None was better than when he elegantly eased onto the front foot and rolled his wrists while expertly working seamer Durval Green between mid-wicket and mid-on for a fabulous four to move from 60 to 64.
The tempo of the Barbados Pride’s innings slowed down after tea was taken at 207 for two off 66 overs, with only 57 runs coming in the final session when 24 overs were bowled.
By then Brooks had his sights firmly set on a century. After steering Green to the unprotected third-man boundary to move to 90, he flicked the military medium-pace of Rovman Powell to the fine-leg fence.
He would’ve been delighted when Scorpions’ captain Nikita Miller reintroduced inexperienced left-arm spinner Christopher Lamont, playing only his second game at this level.
Cool, calm and collected, Brooks calculated that Lamont won’t be a threat and caressed him through mid-wicket for four to move to 99 before reaching his milestone with a single to backward square-leg.
Brooks celebrated the landmark in style with a stupendous straight drive off Green, which brought a smile to Dowlin’s face and was greeted by cheers by the 100-odd die-hard spectators at the ground.
Without the services of any of the pacy trio Reynard Leveridge, Oshane Thomas and Odean Smith, Miller had set the tone for the Scorpions’ unassertive bowling approach, which lacked sting when he ill-advisedly used 30-year-old Lamont, who started with five maiden overs to Moseley, to share the new ball with Green.
Pacer Marquino Mindley, probably unhappy with the decision to start a first-class match at a venue renowned for assisting fast bowlers with an ordinary-looking spinner, never looked the part when he came in to bowl.
Moseley and Brooks cashed in on the Scorpions’ lack of penetration, taking the score to 115 for one off 35 overs at lunch, as the experienced Miller, who needs five more wickets for 500 scalps in first-class cricket, was wicketless in 24 overs of uncomplicated left-arm spin.
Earlier, Barbados handed 19-year-old left-arm pacer Dominic Drakes, who is the son of former West Indies fast bowler Vasbert Drakes, his first-class debut after he replaced the injured Miguel Cummins in the squad.
With Chemar Holder also making his debut in the last round when he had an eight-wicket match haul, and Keon Harding, who turned 21 late last year, recalled to the side, it represented the first time Barbados Pride went into a first-class match with such a youthful pace attack considering all-rounder Justin Greaves is 23 years old. (EZS)