Geraint Jones stakes his claim
Carib Beer XI 129 and 51 for 1 (Ganga 17*, Joseph 25*) trail England 347 (Thorpe 88, Jones 66) by 167 runs
Graham Thorpe picked up where he left off in the Trinidad Test and Geraint Jones recorded his maiden representative half-century, as England took control on the second day of their tour match against a Carib Beer XI at the 3Ws Oval in Barbados.
Thorpe, whose first-innings 90 put England on course for victory in the second Test, once again missed out on a century as he was dismissed for 88 shortly before tea. But it was nonetheless a satisfactory warm-up for this week's third Test, as England secured a first-innings lead of 218, after being bowled out for 347. Thorpe added 117 for the fifth wicket with Jones, England's reserve wicketkeeper, who made the most of a rare outing with a finely crafted 66.
Jones's success with the bat was in stark contrast to his rival for the wicketkeeper's role, Chris Read, who was playing as a specialist batsman after a run of low scores. His was the only wicket to fall in a sleepy morning session in which England added 85 runs to their overnight 121 for 3. After one emphatic pull for four, he snicked a thin edge to the keeper off Dave Mohammad for 9 (144 for 4).
Five overs later, Thorpe should have been sent on his way as well when he was bowled by Ravi Rampaul, but it was a no-ball. Instead he knuckled down and ground his way towards a big score, tight as ever in defence but quick to latch onto anything loose.
England's progress was held up after lunch, as a heavy downpour swept across the ground. But when play finally resumed after an hour's delay, Thorpe and Jones cracked 53 runs in just 11 overs to pile the pressure on the Carib Beer XI.
But with a hundred in his sights, Thorpe mis-timed a lofted drive off Tonito Willett, and was caught brilliantly in the deep by the substitute fielder. Jones then slapped Jermaine Lawson to cover to end a fine innings that had included five fours and three sixes, and had doubtless given the England selectors a timely nudge.
Rikki Clarke enjoyed himself for a time, as he and Ashley Giles added 40 useful runs for the seventh wicket. But Lawson put the new ball to good use, removing Clarke for 35, courtesy of Sylvester Joseph's catch, and Gareth Batty, trapped lbw for a duck (325 for 8). Giles himself then fell for 22, before Dave Mohammad wrapped things up with his third wicket of the innings.
James Anderson made an early breakthrough in the Carib Beer XI's second innings when Xavier Marshall was caught behind for 4, but Daren Ganga and Marshall reached the close on 51 for 1, a deficit of 167.