Lara the difference as T&T gain lead
Brian Lara, picked up where he had left off on Saturday and completed a vital and controlled tenth regional century to guide Trinidad and Tobago to a first-innings lead over Guyana on the third day of their sixth round Carib Beer Series match at Guaracara Park yesterday.
Before a large and expectant Sunday crowd who endured the patchy weather and a few rain interruptions, the triple world record holder played his way to 153 as T&T were bowled out in late afternoon for 398, in response to Guyana's competitive first innings total of 346. Persevering Guyanese pacer Esaun Crandon, who bagged a career-best haul of seven wickets for 125 runs, matched Lara's brilliant effort. But it was not enough for the visitors.
Lara's innings lasted 382 minutes and 262 balls and included 12 boundaries. It was the platform around which the innings was built and he showed no ill-effects of not having played since the West Indies' Test series in Australia in November last year. Lara shared in a third-wicket partnership of 159 in 194 minutes with Daren Ganga, the captain, who contributed a solid 62 in 213 minutes with seven fours. The third-wicket stand by the two West Indies players was the launching pad for the local team in their bid for first innings points.
T&T resumed on 126 for two, with Lara on 60 and Ganga 45 and they pushed the score to 174 before Ganga misjudged the line and was bowled by the impressive Crandon, offering no stroke. Allrounder Dwayne Bravo joined Lara and T&T went to the lunch interval on 190 for three. With the first ball after the interval, Crandon bowled Bravo for nine, leaving the home side in a spot of bother on 190 for four. Sherwin Ganga gave Crandon his fifth wicket when he was caught by Travis Dowlin at cover.
Denesh Ramdin, a century maker in the previous match against Jamaica, joined Lara and played intelligently for his 25 before he was trapped lbw by a faster delivery from leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo with the score on 271 for six. Richard Kelly (10) did not last long. But Rayad Emrit partnered Lara to within 15 runs of the first innings lead before Lara's fine effort came to an end when he steered Crandon very low down to Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the captain, at slip. Lara took his regional captain's word that the catch was clean and walked away to an ovation full of appreciation from a grateful public.
Emrit then ensured that the first innings mission was completed by getting to an impressive unbeaten 55, sharing a last wicket stand of 50 with Sanjiv Gooljar to give the home team a lead of 52.