Batsmen flourish in Basseterre, Kingstown

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Guyana Jaguars captain Leon Johnson gathered his fifth first-class hundred to give his side a firm foundation in their top-of-the-table, Digicel 4-Day Championship match against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force on Thursday.

The Test left-hander also shared a record second-wicket stand with fellow left-hander, opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of former Windies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, that gave the Jaguars the early ascendancy in their day/night, key fourth-round match at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground.

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In the other two matches: batsmen flourished, as a handful reached half-centuries, but unlike Johnson, none carried on to a hundred, as Jamaica Scorpions and Barbados Pride made strong starts against Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Windward Islands Volcanoes at Warner Park and Arnos Vale Sports Complex respectively.

Jaguars 245-2 vs Red Force in Tarouba, Trinidad

Johnson batted resolutely for close to five hours for an undefeated 106 that was the rock upon which the Jaguars built, after they decided to bat.

He struck hit 11 fours from 218 balls and put on 174 with the younger Chanderpaul, establishing a new Jaguars second-wicket record against Red Force in the modern era of the West Indies first-class championship (1966 onwards).

They coincidentally, eclipsed the previous mark of 165 shared between two former West Indies star left-handers, the late Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kallicharran, 45 years ago at Queen’s Park Oval.

Chanderpaul fell for 84 in the final hour of play, but Test left-hander Vishaul Singh came to the crease and stayed with Johnson until the close during which time the Jaguars captain reached his landmark from 201 balls.

Red Force, whose bowling unit was boosted with the return of Test left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, got little assistance from the pitch and the pink-ball failed to play tricks on the Jaguars batsmen.

Scorpions 315-7 vs Hurricanes in Basseterre, St. Kitts

Paul Palmer will be eyeing his maiden first-class hundred after helping the Scorpions finish with the day’s highest total, after they decided to bat.

Palmer was unbeaten on 78, but left-handers Assad Fudadin and John Campbell made 58 and 57 respectively, as the Scorpions used the well-known Warner Park batting paradise to restore confidence.

The trio were involved in a combination of partnerships that saw the visitors plunder a weakened Hurricanes attack to their hearts’ delight before losing a cluster of wickets in the final session, as the home team fought back.

Hurricanes captain Rahkeem Cornwall opened the bowling with his off-spin and was the pick of his side’s attack, taking 3-84 from 28 overs.

After a brief delay to the start, Campbell and fellow opener Garth Garvey used the first hour to give their side a solid base with a stand of 47 before the Hurricanes made the breakthrough.

Fudadin came to the crease and ushered Campbell to his 50, as they consolidated for the Scorpions with a stand of 55.

After Campbell’s dismissal sent the Scorpions to lunch on 102 for two and they stumbled to 129 for three with the dismissal of Brandon King, Fudadin continued merrily to his 50 and shared 70 with Palmer he was dismissed in the final over before tea, which saw the Scorpions reach 199 for four.

After the break, the runs continued to flow for the Scorpions, but they continued to bleed wickets, as former United States captain Steven Taylor was one of three wickets that fell inside the final hour.

Pride 273-5 vs Volcanoes in Kingstown, St. Vincent

Uncapped left-handed opener Anthony Alleyne led a strong batting parade from the Pride with 82 and was one of four batsmen that plundered half-centuries, after they were put in to bat.

All-rounder Kevin Stoute was not out on 59, Kenroy Williams made 55 and left-handed opener Shayne Moseley scored 54 as reward for resolute batting in a solid effort from the Pride.

Volcanoes captain Tyrone Theophile was the unlikely bowling hero for his side, grabbing 3-54 from 20 overs with his uncomplicated, part-time off-spin, but Test off-spinner Shane Shillingford conceded just 83 from 34 overs to keep things tight for most of the day at the other end.