#WICHAMP: KEEN BATTLES IN THE MAKING
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – A string of face-saving half-centuries marked play in the West Indies Championship on Friday.
Leaders and four-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars were under pressure against Jamaica Scorpions, even though Test batsmen Vishaul Singh and Leon Johnson carved out half-centuries to prop up their batting at the Guyana National Stadium on the second day of seventh round matches.
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At the same time – Emerging left-hander Alick Athanaze struck his third half-century of the season, as Windward Islands Volcanoes were engaged in a keen battle against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Windsor Park.
And, WINDIES international Ashley Nurse gave evidence he could be a key player in the lower order during the upcoming One-day Internationals against England with an enterprising half-century that rescued Barbados Pride from a total batting collapse against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at Kensington Oval.
Scorpions (358) vs Jaguars 203-5 in Providence, Guyana
Singh led a Jags fightback with 61 and Johnson, his captain, stroked 58, as the pair added 101 for the third wicket to lift the home team from a shaky 62 for three.
Singh struck eight fours from 167 balls in just under 3 ½ hours and Johnson collected seven fours and a six in a 184-ball innings that lasted just over 3 ¾ hours.
Both fell in the final hour to leave the contest delicately poised, and Chris Barnwell, not out on 22, and Raymon Reifer, not out on five, to bat through the last 20 minutes before stumps were drawn.
Earlier, Derval Green converted his overnight unbeaten 59 into 86, as Scorpions were bowled out inside the first hour of play after they resumed from their overnight total of 320 for eight.
Green ended with seven fours and four sixes from 80 balls in a near two-hour stay at the crease before he was caught at slip off Romario Shepherd to bring the Scorpions innings to a close.
Hurricanes (271) vs Volcanoes (225-7) in Roseau, Dominica
Athanaze struck two fours and one six from 108 balls before he fell to the last ball of the day and was the only Volcanoes batsman that crossed 50, as a handful of batsmen got starts without carrying on.
Veteran opener Devon Smith supported with 46, Test batsman Sunil Ambris made 41, Kavem Hodge got 26 and Ray Jordan added 25.
Smith anchored the top half of the batting, putting on 42 for the second wicket with Hodge and a further 57 for the third wicket with Ambris.
Volcanoes however, lost three wickets for 30 and were wobbling on 156 for five before Athanaze came to the crease and led the recovery, sharing 60 for the sixth wicket to leave them within sight of overtaking the Hurricanes first innings total.
Sheno Berridge took 3-38 from 12 overs and off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall grabbed 3-47 from 28 overs to lead the Hurricanes bowling.
Earlier, Hurricanes lost their last five wickets for 42, after resuming on 229 for five with token resistance coming from Cornwall and Quinton Boatswain, both hitting 21.
Jordan with 4-47 from 17.5 overs and left-arm spinner Larry Edward with 4-73 from 37 overs were the most successful Volcanoes bowlers.
Red Force (358) vs Pride 238-7 in Bridgetown, Barbados
Nurse smashed three fours and five sixes in an unbeaten 71 off 80 deliveries and has so far shared 108 – unbroken – for the eighth wicket with Tevyn Walcott, not out on 34.
Pride looked in danger of a collapse at 130 for eight just after tea, after leg-spinner Yannic Cariah snared 4-43 from 16 overs and Ravi Rampaul took 2-26 from 12 overs.
Pride had started strongly with a composed 56 from left-handed opener Shayne Moseley and 45 from rookie Aaron Jones, which carried them to a comfortable 119 for one.
Moseley, whose innings contained seven fours from 149 balls in just over three hours at the crease, and Jones added 95 for the second wicket.
But Cariah transformed the game when he held a return catch to dismiss Jones and trapped Pride captain Jonathan Carter lbw for four in the same over, as the hosts lost six wickets for 11 in the space of 39 deliveries.
Earlier, Red Force, starting the day on 316 for eight, about 35 minutes after play began with Anderson Phillip holding up the Pride briefly to make 22 and Jamaican fast-medium bowler Marquino Mindley taking the last two wickets to end with 5-78 from 20 overs for the hosts.