Friday, April 12, 2024

Bajans crawl to 201-4


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IF YOU PAID to go to Kensington Oval yesterday, you might have felt you didn’t get value for your money.
The entertainment package was limited, bordering on non-existent. In some ways, however, it was a lesson in patience and concentration.
Barbados used the day’s 94 overs to eke out 201 for four against Windward Islands on the first day of their key fifth-round WICBM regional four-day match.
It is something of a foundation and a total of 350 could still be on the cards, but for a team that seemingly needs nothing less than a victory to maintain their interest in the competition, the mainly cautious approach might have been puzzling to some fans.
For a team without their two most experienced batsmen, it was however an effort they would be content with. With captain Ryan Hinds having to miss out because of a bout of gastro and Dale Richards dropped because of his modest returns, Barbados were asked to bat first against opponents who are battling with them for a semi-final berth.
Most of Barbados’ batsmen hardly looked in any bother, but there wasn’t much of an effort to lift the tempo.
Kraigg Brathwaite’s typically fighting 57 was the mainstay of Barbados’ total and there were also useful contributions from Kevin Stoute (45 not out), Jonathan Carter (33), Jason Haynes (31) and stand-in captain Shamarh Brooks (21 not out).
The scoreboard, however, never rolled away at a fast clip at any stage throughout the day.
The first session produced 66 runs for the loss of one wicket; the second 72 runs for two wickets, and the final period contained 63 runs for one wicket. It was only towards the end of the day when Stoute showed a bit of aggression by lifting left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin for successive fours over long off that there was any form of excitement.
A mere 15 fours were struck during the entire day in which Barbados’ scoring rate was 2.13.
Credit, however, must be given for the effort in preserving wickets. If the batsmen had made a quick 20 and Barbados had been dismissed for 160, many of us would have had a few unkind words.
Brathwaite batted with his usual patience, diligently playing each ball on its merit on the way to 57 that took up four hours and ten minutes in which he managed a solitary boundary. His dismissal, just after the tea break, was somewhat of out of character. It was a surprise to see Brathwaite going down the track and trying to lift off-spinner Liam Sebastien over mid-wicket.
The stroke didn’t have enough power to clear the ropes and Tyrone Theophile took a good catch running in to give the Windwards captain his third wicket.
Brathwaite fell ten minutes after tea, and a half-hour after Barbados lost Carter for 33 that contained a few nice strokes before he gave a low catch to first slip off left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson. It was a promising knock from the left-hander on his return to national colours, but those two wickets 11 runs apart required the hosts to consolidate for most of the post-tea session.
Stoute and Brooks ensured there were no further alarms by batting through the remaining hour and 50 minutes in an unfinished fifth-wicket partnership of 60.
Stoute, still searching for a major score this season, has done all the hard work in an unbeaten 45 and resumes this morning with the opportunity to make it count. He has had the benefit of a missed return chance put down by Kenroy Peters when he was on 21 and will try to make sure that the Windwards pay dearly for it.
Brooks, omitted from the last match despite averaging 53 with the bat in the first three matches, batted cautiously but looked assured in his 21 not out. In the first session, openers Brathwaite and Jason Haynes had to contend with some defensive bowling from the Windwards, whose faster bowlers were mainly wide of off stump.
Haynes, given his chance after performing 12th man duties for the first four matches, looked the part in scoring 31 before gifting his hand to the second ball from Sebastien.
It was a full-toss which got him lbw after he missed a cross-batted stroke.
Kyle Hope arrived at No. 3 to replace Hinds 24 minutes before lunch but only survived until five minutes after the break when he pulled a ball of no merit straight into the hands of midwicket.


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