Trinidad & Tobago v Jamaica, Carib Beer Cup, 2nd day January 8, 2006

Ramdin puts T&T in charge

Denesh Ramdin on his way to 125 not out © Trinidad & Tobago Express
Mr. Dependable hardly seems a fair label to place upon a 20-year-old. But Denesh Ramdin, the West Indies' wicketkeeper-batsman, is already beginning to fit the description.

The handshakes and congratulatory claps received from his Jamaica opponents and warm hugs of appreciation given him by his team-mates after he returned unbeaten at the end of the Trinidad and Tobago innings reflected the quality of his unbeaten 125 yesterday. And it underlined again the potential value of the man they call "Shotter".

And as if to put an exclamation mark on it, he went one better in the late afternoon at the Sir Frank Worrell Ground at UWI, St Augustine, on the second day of this Carib Beer Series fixture. Marlon Samuels was treating the pursuit of T&T's first innings 386 made in one and three-quarter days like a one-day target.

He came in to replace his Wavell Hinds, who became a victim of Ramdin the wicketkeeper, with the total on just 8, Hinds having fished at and snagged an edge off Richard Kelly. Samuels addressed the potential crisis with a commanding array of drives and pulls, so typical of his talent. In a hurry-off just 75 balls-he had got to a menacing 63. But then his West Indies team-mates Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo got together.

Bravo, "Mr. Make it Happen", surprised Samuels with a short ball on the body which he awkwardly tried to help away. Instead he spooned the ball high into the air, leg-side, only for "Mr. Dependable" to run speedily from behind the stumps and snare the catch two handed, diving at full stretch. Bowler, keeper and their colleagues huddled in great celebration.

Another key moment in the day had gone to T&T. And at the close, they were in command, with Jamaica on 98 for 3, still in arrears on first innings by 288 runs. Dave Mohammed's lbw success against opener Brenton Parchment in the penultimate over of play compounded the predicament of the Jamaicans, the defending four-day champions. How Robert Haynes, the coach, and Hinds, the captain, must have wished that Samuels could have been a bit more watchful yesterday, that he could have taken a cue, just a bit, from Ramdin.

His second regional century in this his second full regional season was not the stroke-filled spectacular his colourful nickname would imply. That was despite the six fours and the two sixes he struck, the second six being tugged over the midwicket boundary off fast bowler Jerome Taylor. But the real statistic of that knock, the one that tilted the game T&T's way, was the one in the minutes column: 355.

Already at the crease for an hour and 40 minutes when the second day began with T&T on 201 for six, the wicketkeeper/batsman stayed out in the middle for another four and a quarter hours, anchoring an innings which went from solid to substantial. Calm and collected as always, his wristy placement and patience was the glue which held the lower order together. But he got good help.

Like Samuels, Ramdin's overnight partner Kelly lapsed fatally in the 60s, skying a catch to deep mid-off to give Gareth Breese his fifth wicket of the innings. But by then, Kelly had applied himself for just over two hours in making his 62 (five fours, one six, 92 balls), his second 50 of the season. More importantly, he had added an even 100 with Ramdin to leave T&T on 281 for 7. Kelly's measured approach was heartening, a further sign of his development. But the rest of the lower order also largely played for their team in helping Ramdin put on a further 105. Rayad Emrit added 38 with him for the eighth wicket, Dave Mohammed 30 for the ninth, and debutant Sanjiv Gooljar another 37 for the tenth. Gooljar it was who saw Ramdin to his hundred, which came up with a couple worked neatly to square leg off Andrew Richardson. "Shotter" had manfully taken up where his skipper Daren Ganga had left off with his 93 on the first day.

Now Jamaica must find a hero or two to do the same.