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BARBADOS - Carib Beer finals 2006
by HAYDN GILL in Trinidad Compliments of the Nation News
IF HISTORY is anything to go by, there is still hope for Barbados.
Like cornered lions, they gallantly fought their way out of a desperate situation yesterday in very much the same way they did in the 2004 Carib Beer Challenge final.
Two years ago, they conceded first innings lead by 116 runs against Jamaica and came back to triumph remarkably by 84 runs.
Yesterday, they gave up a first innings advantage of 70 to Trinidad and Tobago and tried to claw their way back into the contest on the third day of the 2005-06 final.
Their fielding was spectacular, highlighted by wicket-keeper Patrick Browne's amazing catch that sent back Brian Lara, his hand in teaming up with Wayne Blackman to complete a run-out, and Dwayne Smith's athleticism that caused another run-out.
With two days remaining, this match is set up wonderfully for a fascinating showdown with Trinidad and Tobago set to resume their second innings with a lead of 207 and five wickets in hand.
As the hosts were seemingly building on their first innings lead after dismissing Barbados for 270 – which represented the first part of the comeback – the match was transformed on its heels with five wickets for 47 runs.
The last of those was Lara for 20, to a stunning catch by Browne after the wicket-keeper stretched to his left to haul in a ball on the second attempt as it was climbing and moving away from him.
As Lara walked off the ground in the closing stages of the day, several of those at Guaracara Park started heading for the exits.
The successful bowler was Dwayne Smith, who had set the tone for the fielding display with a magnificent diving save at cover that was responsible for the run-out of Lendl Simmons after an opening stand of 45.
Blackman, whose times in the field have been patchy, lifted his game with wonderful work to relay the ball to Browne to complete the run-out of Jason Mohammed.
Before Barbados' success, they were again frustrated by a few decisions that went against them.
They could not understand by Mohammed wasn't given out to a catch by Browne when they felt he had gloved a wicked lifter from Ian Bradshaw.
They were similarly dumbfounded when Denesh Ramdin survived a raucous appeal for an lbw appeal as he shouldered arms to a ball from Corey Collymore that seemed to cut back enough to challenge the stumps.
That didn't make much of a difference, because in the same over Ramdin was sent on his way after playing slightly across.
The frustration wasn't over yet. Pedro Collins was down on his knees beseeching for an lbw call against Lara when the verdict was that he was struck marginally outside the line of the off-stump.
After Lara eventually went, Barbados made no further inroads and were halted for the last 50 minutes when Richard Kelly and Rayad Emit, both batting ahead of Dwayne Bravo who was getting treatment for a groin injury, added 38 for the sixth wicket.
Barbados' fightback had started long before.
From the precarious 105 for five, they managed to restrict Trinidad and Tobago's lead thanks to the efforts of their two youngest batsmen who saved face with a sixth-wicket partnership of 84.
Kirk Edwards, the 21-year-old on debut, batted with maturity throughout and played with aplomb for three and a quarter hours for an impressive 64 in which he was at home against pace and spin.
Browne fought for two hours to make 33, overcoming a difficult period at the start of the against Mervyn Dillon.
In one over Browne took a blow on the elbow, edged just short of the keeper, played one just away from the fielder at gully, but, to his credit, he dug in until off-spinner Amit Jaggernath bowled him with a ball he expected to turn in.
Edwards continued to bat with confidence in an innings that included ten polished fours from 150 balls before he was undone by a sensational, right-handed by catch by substitute Sherwin Ganga at slip.
Ian Bradshaw and Ryan Austin, who added 66 in the semi-final when Barbados were in a hopeless position, also stuck in to make 28 each, but the real comeback came in the evening session that was extended all the way just until before 6 p.m.
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