Daren Ganga misses century
Daren Ganga, the Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) captain, led by example but it didn't yield the results he expected or deserved yesterday. At the University of West Indies ground in St Augustine he scored 93 runs in four hours and 43 minutes, with just six fours.
But Jamaica, led by Wavell Hinds, still managed to limit the home team to 201 for 6 by the close on the first day of the Carib Beer Series encounter. Sent in to bat by Hinds, T&T, who omitted Sherwin Ganga, Amit Jaggernauth and Imran Khan from their final XI, found batting an exercise in patience and perseverance.
The pitch was slow, the lush outfield even slower, and Gareth Breese, the offspinner just nagging enough to take advantage. Breese, the last of Hinds's specialists to be used, proved to be his captain's ace, taking three second session wickets in the space of 12 runs to leave T&T on 97 for four.
Earlier, in the pristine, bright conditions that prevailed all day at this picturesque venue, Lendl Simmons had spent 45 minutes getting to three when fast bowler Jerome Taylor, full in length as usual and inclined to get away movement, bowled him. The score was 13. Before Breese, Taylor looked the best bowler, though occasionally straying to the leg side in his first spell.
Ganga and Maraj had sweated long and hard to set up the innings. They came together in the tenth over of what had already been a slow morning. Maraj was dismissed for 31 after Breese got him to casually push a delivery into Tamar Lambert's hands at forward short-leg.
Ganga, though, was still there. On seven, the Jamaicans thought they had him, but pacer Andrew Richardson's appeal for a catch to wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh was turned down. A tickle to backward square-leg, which followed one of the most pleasant of the on-drives he played yesterday, brought up his second 50 of this truncated, interrupted season. Jason Mohammed, whose 133 last weekend pushed him into the side, added 38 with him for the fifth wicket and gave his captain impressive support. But having advanced to just 18 after the break, he eventually succumbed to Breese. Enticed to go for the drive again, he missed and was smartly stumped by Baugh.
Baugh's counterpart Denesh Ramdin joined Ganga, who seemed set to reach his century. A sweep to the backward square boundary off left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, followed in the same over by another four to midwicket, propelled him into the 90s. But next over, up against the slow stuff of Marlon Samuels, his judgement failed him. He went back to a ball to which he was better off going forward to and perished lbw. The anguish at that error was evident in his wistful swish of the bat.
However Ramdin (20 in 100 minutes and 76 balls) and Richard Kelly 16 (33 minutes, one four) are capable of finishing what their captain started. They will come back today, with a fine example to follow.