Sebastien's six puts slide on Bajans
Bridgetown, Barbados, CMC – Andre Fletcher continued his rich vein of form for Windward Islands, after career-best bowling from Liam Sebastien against Barbados in the WICB Regional first-class championship on Saturday.
Fletcher was unbeaten on 53 to lead Windwards to 116-2, replying to Barbados’ first innings total of 341 on the second day of their fifth round match at Kensington Oval.
This followed some excellent off-spin bowling from Windwards captain Sebastien, whose 6-97 from 47 overs was his best first-class figures. Kevin Stoute finished with 72, his best score of the season, Shane Dowrich was not out on 56, Shamarh Brooks, the stand-in Barbados captain, made 34, and Jason Holder got 31.
With Devon Smith on West Indies duty at the ICC Cricket World Cup, Fletcher is the most senior batsman in the Windwards’ line-up, and he has curbed his natural instincts to diligently carry the burden of responsibility. His new attitude has yielded scores of 30, 35, 6, 43, 10, 107, and 67, and he produced another purposeful innings in an elongated final period to steady Windwards, after they wobbled to 36-2.
Windwards started on shaky ground, when left-arm fast-medium bowler Pedro Collins bowled Tyrone Theophile for one, and Tino Best had left-hander Atticus Browne brilliantly caught behind by Shane Dowrich for 12 edging a ball angled across. But Fletcher found Keddy Lesporis, not out on 45, a steady ally, and they put on 80 – unbroken – for the third wicket to put Barbados’ attack, which comprised Collins, Fidel Edwards, and Best, into true perspective.
Fletcher has so far batted a shade over 2 ½ hours, faced 105 balls, and struck eight boundaries, and Lesporis has hit seven fours from 66 balls in 1 ¾ hours.
Earlier, Sebastien made his impact, after the bottom half of the Barbados middle-order continued the fight for the home team, when they started the day on 201 for four. He snared the last three Barbados wickets, which fell for 20 in the space of 54 balls.
Sebastien and left-arm spinner Gary Mathurin had failed to make an impact in the first half-hour, as Stoute and Brooks continued the grind for Barbados. A single into square leg off Mathurin brought Stoute to his 50 from 127 balls, but Sebastien soon claimed the second new ball, and had a fairly early reward.
Mervyn Matthew had Brooks caught behind inside the second half-hour, following his stand of 95 with Stoute for the fifth wicket. Stoute continued to accumulate his runs with little or no trouble until he edged a loose drive outside the off-stump, and was caught at slip off left-arm medium-fast bowler Kenroy Peters about 20 minute before lunch. The Barbados all-rounder smote four fours from 176 balls in four hours at the crease.
Barbados reached 272-6 at the interval, and Holder and Dowrich continued the crawl after lunch to add 80 for the seventh wicket. Mathurin bowled Holder, when the 6-foot, 6-inch tall all-rounder played across a well-pitched, well-flighted delivery to leave Barbados 316-8.
Dowrich, whose 118-ball innings in 163 minutes contained four fours and one six, proceeded to reach his second half-century for the season from 99 balls, when he played a back-foot drive through cover for a two off Sebastien, who then mopped-up the tail.