Canada v Bermuda, Intercontinental Cup, King City, 3rd day August 15, 2006

Samad and Bhatti take Canada to strong position

Eddie Norfolk

Bermuda 334 and 68 for 1 (Outerbridge 35*) trail Canada 588 (Samad 119, Bhatti 50, Steede 4-127) by 186 runs

Buoyed by a 149-run eighth wicket stand between Abdool Samad and Umar Bhatti, Canada ended the third day against Bermuda on a high - eventually dismissed for 588 - with a first-innings lead of 254.

Samad made his maiden century in first-class cricket, eventually falling to the bowling of Kevin Hurdle for 119. Bhatti made 50 and gave great support as Canada achieved a dominant position in the match. Bermuda fought back, before the rains came, to reach 68 for the loss of one wicket, that of Deloyne Borden. Opener Steven Outerbridge remained unbeaten on 31.

The morning session saw Samad and Bhatti establish themselves and take the fight to the opposition. Samad hit 18 boundaries, combining solid defence with periods of controlled aggression. Bhatti 's 50 included an impressive pull for six, and his knock served as a thorn in Bermuda's side, thwarting their hopes of bowling out Canada quickly. Canada did not lose a wicket in the morning session of play.

A couple of chances to break the eighth wicket stand went begging for Bermuda, and they paid a heavy price. Dwayne Leverock, the slow-left arm bowler, bowled a substantial 48.4 overs, taking 2 wickets for 136 runs.

Samad, a member of the Canadian squad in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, expressed satisfaction at proving himself after such a long wait. . "I played my own game", he said. "The ball was not doing much. There was not a lot of movement - it is a batting track."

Andy Pick, the Canada coach, was happy to see the batting come together and hoped for the best on the final day. "Hopefully we can finish them off tomorrow", he said. "We've had three days of very good cricket; we need to stick one more to end it. If we do, we will have come out on top from our home games."

Gus Logie, the Bermuda coach, admitted that his bowlers lost the plot against the lower order. "Rain saved the day for us. It was one of those days we dreaded. Number 8 and 10 (batsmen) added so many runs. Young Samad batted very well. We didn't stick to our line. We didn't control the game and they got away.

"In the end, with the rain, we appear to have saved the game. We still have nine wickets left and if we bat like we did on the first day, we should be able to draw the match."

The loss of play due to rain on Monday means that play will commence half-an-hour earlier, at 10 am on Tuesday, the fourth and final day.