Hildreth hundred turns tides for Lions

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – James Hildreth led an England Lions recovery with his second hundred of the season against Windward Islands in the WICB Regional first-class championship on Thursday.

The Lions captain scored an even 100 to give his side’s first innings total of 280 for eight at the close on the opening day of the sixth round match at Windsor Park.

He added 90 for the fifth wicket with Jonny Bairstow before he was dismissed on the stroke of tea, following a 3 ½-hour long innings that included 13 boundaries from 143 deliveries.

Bairstow, son of the late, former England wicketkeeper/batsman David Bairstow, supported with 40, Chris Woakes was not out on 37, Adil Rashid made 35, and James Harris got 22.

Left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin has been the most successful Windwards bowler so far with three wickets for 66 runs from 33 overs, and Mervyn Matthew snared two for 32 from 18 overs.

Nelon Pascal set the Lions back early, when he bowled Craig Kieswetter in the first over for a duck before Mervyn Matthew added to the pain, when he Andrew Gale was caught behind for 13.

Hildreth joined Jimmy Adams half-hour into the morning, and gave his side momentum before two wickets in the second hour left them wobbling on 78 for four at lunch.

Keswick Williams had Adams caught behind for 14, and fellow newcomer Dalton Polius, bowling off-spin, removed James Taylor for seven.

After the interval, Hildreth and Bairstow added beef to the visitors’ total with their partnership, but Mathurin removed them both in the last half-hour before tea.

The Lions were wobbling on 191 for six at the break, but Woakes anchored the lower-half of the English team’s batting, and put together some valuable partnerships with Rashid and Harris to extend the visitors’ innings into Friday’s second day.

The Lions made three changes to their line-up, with Adams, Taylor, and Danny Briggs brought in to replace Adam Lyth, Ben Stokes, and Nathan Buck.

Windwards also made three changes, with Pascal, Polius, and Williams replacing injured Kenroy Peters, regular captain Liam Sebastien, who is unavailable because of study commitments at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, and fast bowler Delorn Johnson.

The Lions gained first innings points in a draw against Guyana in their badly rain-affected, fifth round match at the Guyana National Stadium to move to 36 points and remain third in the Championship.

Windwards moved to 29 points to cement themselves in fifth, after gaining first innings points and surviving a scare in their second innings against Barbados in their previous match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.

The Lions, essentially the England A-Team, comfortably won their match the last time the two sides met a decade ago at the Mindoo Phillip Park in Castries, St. Lucia, by an innings and 17 runs.

ENGLAND LIONS 1st Innings

J. Adams c wkpr *L. James b Williams 14

+C. Kieswetter b Pascal 0

A. Gale c wkpr *L. James b Matthew 13

*J. Hildreth lbw b Mathurin 100

J. Taylor c Theophile b Polius 7

J. Bairstow c Matthew b Mathurin 40

A. Rashid c Fletcher b Mathurin 35

C. Woakes not out 37

J. Harris lbw b Matthew 22

D. Briggs not out 4

Extras (b2, lb5, nb1) 8

TOTAL (8 wkts, 90 overs) 280

J. Dernbach to bat

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-13, 3-39, 4-78, 5-168, 6-191, 7-224, 8-265

Bowling: Pascal 16-2-62-1 (nb1); Matthew 18-7-32-2; Williams 8-2-31-1; Mathurin 33-10-66-3, Polius 12-0-68-1, Fletcher 4-0-14-0

WINDWARD ISLANDS: T. Theophile, A. Brown, A. Fletcher, K. Lesporis, D. Polius, K. James, *+L. James, G. Mathurin, M. Matthew, K. Peters, N. Pascal

Toss: England Lions

Umpires: L. Abrahams, P. Nero

Match referee: A. Griffith

Reserve umpire: R. Larocque