Smith celebrates 20th First Class Century
GROS ISLET, ST LUCIA - One down. Four to go. At the start of this season, Windward Islands opener, Devon Smith, set a goal of scoring five First Class centuries.
In his first innings of the new domestic season against the Combined Campuses & Colleges, he struck what looked a relatively comfortable century. He felt he owed that to the pitch, saying, "I think it's a good batting track if you apply yourself, and it gets easier."
Smith struck a total of 16 fours in his knock of 139 that lasted 239 minutes at the crease. His twentieth First Class century came at a rapid rate as well. He scored his 139 runs from just 166 balls.
Smith looked untroubled for the best part of his innings. The outfield aided his stroke play, and about fifty percent of his boundaries came from short, bad balls from the CCC pacers that just stood up for him to hit. Nonetheless, in a game featuring so many young players, Smith had shown them how to construct an innings, and take a start and convert it into a big hundred.
Six of the batsmen so far, excluding the three who got half-centuries in this match, failed to convert from a start into any productive score. Smith too, had been dismissed to a ball from Akeem Dewar that sat up to be hit. It was short, wide, and cut straight to Shacaya Thomas at short-cover. He had gone for all power, poor placement, and no timing.
However, for all the praise the Beausejour pitch has been getting from batsmen, fifteen wickets fell in the first two days of the 4-Day game. In the last session of both days, both teams endured a collapse, CCC more devastating than their opponents on Day 1. Smith has defended the batsmen, praising the bowlers for their persistence and determination on a difficult track to bowl on.
He said, "As I say, the wicket is a very good wicket. You have to work for wickets, and with CCC scoring 309, we have to back ourselves to go out there and do better. I don't think many guys have given away their wickets. I think that the bowlers have fought hard for their wickets. It's very difficult to get wickets on this track. You have to put the ball in the right areas, bowl a good line and length, and create pressure. Pressure is the key."
In contrast, Smith says that it is quite easy to get runs on the Beausejour track. He says the outfield is also quite helpful.