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BARBADOS - cricket

Carib Beer International Challenge semifinal at Kensington Oval

Bajans Bounce Back - Friday 27, February-2004

by Haydn Gill

Fast bowler Pedro Collins (left) celebrating with teammates. Fast bowler Pedro Collins (left) celebrating with teammates.

The script could have been predicted – well, almost.

Barbados’ bowlers, unstoppable all season, ran through brittle Guyanese batsmen at two different stages on the opening day of the Carib Beer International Challenge semifinal at Kensington Oval.

In between the two periods of Bajan dominance, there was a record double-century stand between two batsmen whose credentials are well known.

Had it not been for Ramnarseh Sarwan’s impressive century and Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 81, it would have been a complete embarrassment for Guyana.

On the other side of their sterling partnership, Barbados claimed three wickets for two runs leading up to the first hour of play, and four wickets for 15 runs at the tail-end of the day.

A close-of-play total of 248 for seven reflects an even contest, but this was unlike anything Barbados have met for the season. They’ve also met a pitch they wouldn’t want to see in a long time.

They also met two high-class batsmen they didn’t see when Guyana were here seven weeks ago.

The repeat Carib Cup champions claimed three early wickets within the first hour against their transformed opponents, but toiled mercilessly for the majority of the day until the hard-working Ian Bradshaw and Pedro Collins came back late in the evening to inspire a Barbados fightback.

Collins’ double-strike in the morning session, and two more wickets by way of lbw decisions in the evening, represented a good day’s work and his four scalps pushed him to a season-high 37 wickets.

Bradshaw, probing between lunch and tea when he sent down eight successive maidens, was eventually rewarded with the wickets of Sarwan and Chanderpaul at a time when Barbados were wondering when the partnership would end.

Two loose strokes saw the backs of Chanderpaul and Sarwan, the former steering a catch and the latter edging a drive, both taken by keeper Courtney Browne to push his record to 37 dismissals this season.

Bradshaw, whose 30 overs cost only 38, did an admirable job when the two senior Guyanese batsmen were firmly entrenched.

When Sarwan and Chanderpaul linked up at the first refreshment break, with Guyana in tatters at 29 for three, it seemed to be business as usual for the red-hot record-breakers.

By the time they were dislodged hours later, the game had a look to it.

Barbados didn’t help their cause either.

They missed at least five chances. Most of them contained a degree of difficulty, but you would expect a champion team to gobble up some of them.

The pitch, however, is certain to remain a big talking point throughout the match. Flat, easy-paced, brown and devoid of grass, the track offered no assistance whatsoever to the quartet of Barbados fast bowlers.

On winning the toss, Browne initially appeared to be uncertain about what to do and needed some time before making up his mind and asking Guyana to bat first.

The Guyanese, badly beaten by Barbados by ten wickets in the opening series at the same venue, have come a long way since crashing to three successive defeats at the start of the tournament.

The return of Sarwan and Chanderpaul has made a world of difference and the pair were called upon to get Guyana out of a potential crisis.

Sarwan, solid and fluent, arrived at his first regional first-class century and first against a major team with a lovely extra-cover drive off Fidel Edwards. It was one of 13 fours for the compact right-hander, whose innings lasted five fours and contained 203 balls.

The left-handed Chanderpaul was no less effective in compiling 81 off 192 balls in 285 minutes of batting, in which he struck nine fours.

Their partnership of 203 bettered the previous best Guyanese fourth-wicket stand against Barbados. The old record of 167 was set by Clayton Lambert and Andre Percival at Kensington in 1997.

The Sarwan-Chanderpaul association might have been broken before Chanderpaul had scored, but Ryan Hinds, standing at third slip, barely got his right hand to an edge that was travelling.

The luck continued to run Chanderpaul’s way when he offered possible chances that only grazed the fingertips of Martin Nurse and Fidel Edwards when the Guyana captain was on three and 18.

The most straightforward chance came from the first ball after tea when Bradshaw dropped Sarwan at square-leg off the -look Corey Collymore, sporting a smart hair-cut and shave.

After Bradshaw took care of Sarwan and Chanderpaul, Collins trapped an uncertain Narsingh Deonarine lbw. Neil McGarrell was another of his victims who didn’t read a ball that cut back.

Compliments of the Nation News


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