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Carib Beer Series - Barbados vs Jamaica
Over To Bowlers - Sunday 23, January-2005
The batsmen have let us down. It’s up to the bowlers to bail us out.
This was the common line among West Indian supporters for most of the early 1990s when Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were repeatedly forced to pick up the slack after the shortcomings of the batsmen.
For the second successive match, Barbados’ bowlers were pressed into action after another shoddy batting performance, and fast bowler Jason Bennett pulled the choke with a menacing five-wicket burst.
After all was said and done, we’ve got a ball-game on our hands. After two days of this third round Carib Beer Series match, the pendulum has swung back and forth more than once.
Jamaica hold a lead of 136 with three wickets intact.
In the context of a low-scoring match, these are runs on the board. Such a lead seemed unlikely at one stage after the visitors stuttered to 26 for seven in the face of impressive fast bowling, but they rallied to 95 without further loss with the help of an unfinished eighth-wicket partnership of 69 between Daren Powell and Lorenzo Ingram.
Hardly any of the 2 000 spectators raised a voice in anger when Barbados were deteriorating from a mid-morning position of 61 for two to 152 all out, but there was an electrifying buzz around the ground in the evening session when Bennett and Corey Collymore rekindled memories of West Indian demolitions of the 1980s and 1990s.
It also brought back memories of last season’s International Challenge final when Barbados, led on first innings, swept away the same opponents for 115 in the second innings when Collymore was the main destroyer.
After surrendering a first innings lead of 41, Barbados jumped back, firing on all cylinders to create mayhem in conditions that had suddenly changed.
As the sun disappeared and clouds hovered overhead, the irrepressible Bennett bowled with pace, hostility and accuracy to uncertain batsmen who had been plunged into a state of shock. His figures of five for 34 from 12 overs were deserved.
The Jamaicans could contemplate opening a duck farm after four of the first six casualties perished without troubling the scorers.
For the second successive day, the Bajans got the ball to fly off the pitch, clip outside edges and held the ball in the slip area with sure-handedness.
The one exception was that there wasn’t the middle-order resistance that held them up in the first innings, but this time there was a late fightback. Powell made his way to a career-best unbeaten 47 and Ingram, who stayed with him for an hour-and-quarter, was the perfect foil on 23 not out.
Collymore started Jamaica’s problems with the second ball of the innings which lifted off a good length, hit the outside edge of Maurice Kepple’s bat and flew fast and low to third slip. The fielder there was Kurt Wilkinson, who not only drops nothing, but makes everything look too simple.
The Bennett show then started.
When he pitched the ball up, he was devastating. Ask Donovan Pagon, an lbw victim to a ball of fullish length that wrapped him on the boot for a clear-cut decision.
Also Dave Bernard jr., who could offer no answer to a yorker that comprehensively bowled him.
When Bennett pounded the ball into the turf at brisk pace, he was just as devastating.
Ask Tamar Lambert, the gutsy Jamaica captain whose 79 revived his team’s fortunes in the first innings. All he did this time was miscue a pull to give a catch to square-leg.
In dire straits
Also ask Lorenzo Ingram, who gloved a lifter to the keeper.
It was all happening too fast. Jamaica were in dire straits and once more, Barbados captain Sherwin Campbell didn’t have the luxury of calling on a third specialist fast bowler to maintain the pressure.
Even though Bennett seemed to be tiring, he was given a few more overs, Dwayne Smith could not repeat his first innings work and Martin Nurse’s occasional medium-pace made no impression.
In the circumstances, Powell played very well and told us that he merited the No. 8 place in the order. He batted better than any of the top seven, defending solidly and occasionally launching into attack.
In was certainly an eventful day in which 16 wickets fell for 224 runs.
It started with Barbados suffering a third successive collapse, caused mainly by the pace of Powell, the medium-pace of Bernard and the continuation of the run-out woes.
If Barbados could have been blamed for their approach against Trinidad and Tobago, you can’t entirely fault them here. They were simply undone by bowling of a reasonably good standard.
In the morning period, Martin Nurse, whose 42 was the topscore, and Kurt Wilkinson fell to edged catches, while Smith was bowled off the thigh pad when he attempted a pull.
From 94 for five at lunch, it was still even-stevens. Campbell and Shawn Graham added 31 in an hour-and-a-quarter, but neither carried on after the hard grind.
Graham edged a catch to slip, and Campbell became the first run out victim off a no-ball when Patrick Browne turned down his offer of what appeared to be a comfortable second run. Browne himself fell by the same route when he failed to get home while trying to complete a third run.
Ryan Hurley made things look easy but, yet again, he gifted his hand when he tried to clear extra-cover. the end came when Powell bowled Collymore to finish with four for 47 off 12.4 overs.
He came back to play a telling role with the bat to set the stage for what could be more drama.
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