T&T have firm grip over Leewards

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago narrowly grabbed first innings points over Leeward Islands and tightened their grip on the match with two late strikes on the second day of their fifth round match of the Regional First Class Championship on Saturday.

Struggling at 63-5 in their response to the Leewards’ 211 all out on the first day, T&T showed great character to fight back and snatch a slender 19-run lead at Queen’s Park Oval.

Then pacer Shannon Gabriel then struck twice to reduce the luckless Leewards to 30 for two at the close.

Resuming the day on 47-3 and needing another 165 runs to take first innings points, T&T found themselves in immediate bother, as overnight batsmen Justin Guillen (32) and Sherwin Ganga (13) were back in the hut with only 16 runs added.

Vice-captain Denesh Ramdin (46) and all-rounder Imran Khan (59) then rescued the hosts with a solid 90-run stand for the sixth wicket, denying the Leewards bowlers any further success before lunch.

Ramdin struck three fours in knock that required 123 balls and lasted 148 minutes while Khan also counted three fours off 178 balls in 194 minutes. The right-handed Ramdin was trapped lbw to leg-spinner Anthony Martin (3-32) after the break at 153-6 but the Leewards’ hope of another quick breakthrough was foiled by a seventh wicket partnership of 50 between Khan and Rayad Emrit (44).

After Khan’s departure with first innings lead in sight, Emrit ensured there were no hiccups, hitting two fours and a six off 79 balls before being the last man out.

Martin was supported by seamer Gavin Tonge (2-27), captain Steve Liburd (2-32) and the Tonito Willett (2-23). Gabriel then swung the game firmly in his side’s favour removing Sherwin Peters (8) and Gavin Williams (0).

T&T batsman Runako Morton, a former Leeward Islands captain, and Leewards all-rounder Tonito Willett played no part in the day’s play after being arrested by local police the previous night.