GCA-Ramchand Auto Spares/Survival Group/Trophy Stall U-19 Tourney Launched

Two years after the local sports fraternity’s activities were forced to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) on Friday evening launched its first U-19 50-Over tournament since 2019. Local companies Ramchand Auto Spares, Survival Group of Companies and Trophy Stall have thrown their invaluable support behind the tournament which began on Saturday (March 12).


Speaking at the launch which was held at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC), GCA President Neil Barry expressed gratitude to the sponsors for coming onboard despite all that is going on in the world.
“It is heartening to see our local companies throwing their weight behind the GCA, especially in sponsoring this tournament at the Under-19 level which is an important stage of our young cricketers’ development. Without these types of tournaments, we cannot produce the talent to improve Guyana’s cricket and ultimately take West Indies back to where it ought to be” Barry posited.

GCA President Neil Barry

Meanwhile Mr. Ramchand Ragbeer of Ramchand Auto Spares noted that his company is pleased to be onboard and is looking forward to some exciting cricket in the coming weeks.
Speaking on behalf of the Survival Group of Companies, Mr. Mark De Freitas stated that it was an honour for the Survival Group to be accepted as a sponsor of the GCA’s tournament.


De Freitas pointed out; “It is our company’s first time being involved in the sponsorship of cricket, but it most definitely won’t be the last time, to the participants we wish you all the best and may the best team win”. In addition to sponsorship of the tournament, the Survival Group of Companies through their Travel Agency has put up a Most Valuable Player (MVP) incentive in the form of a trip for two to the Kaieteur Falls.


The competition will see over 170 youths from in and around Georgetown (registered with Georgetown clubs under the GCA) showcase their skill sets over the coming weeks. Twelve teams will compete for top honours within two zones with the top two from each zone securing a berth in the semi-finals. The twelve teams are Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), Demerara Cricket Club (DCC), GNIC, Muslim Youth Organization (MYO), Queens College (QC), Everest Cricket Club (ECC), Malteenoes Sports Club (MSC), Transport Cricket Club, 4R Lions, Bel Air Rubis, Agricola and Georgetown XI.


Zone A comprises GNIC, GCC, 4R Lions, GT XI, DCC and Malteenoes while Zone B will pit MYO, Transport, Bel Air Rubis, Agricola, QC and Everest against each other.
The competition got underway on Saturday (March 12) with two matches; 4R Lions took on GCC at the latter’s home ground while QC hosted Agricola. Matches will be played at venues across Georgetown.

Russell & co shine as KKR demolishes RCB

Andre Russell, Varun Chakaravarthy and Lockie Ferguson shared the spoils as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by nine wickets in Match 31 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

After bowling out RCB for 92, KKR chased down the target, with 10 overs to spare and bagged two points.

Gill scored a quickfire 48 off 34 balls with the help of 6 fours and a six while Iyer, who was making his IPL debut, put an impressive show with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 41 off 27 balls.

The KKR openers did not look at any discomfort and went about their business in some style. The pair completed a fifty-run stand in the sixth over as KKR scored 56 at the end of the powerplay.

While Gill fell in the 10th over, Iyer hammered three fours in the same over to help KKR seal a comprehensive win.

Earlier, Virat Kohli – playing his 200th IPL game – won the toss and elected to bat.

KKR struck early as Prasidh Krishna scalped the big wicket for Kohli in the second over, trapping the RCB skipper before the wickets.

Devdutt Padikkal and KS Bharat then added 31 runs for the second wicket but the partnership was broken as Lockie Ferguson dismissed the left-hander on the final ball of the powerplay.

Andre Russell then joined the wicket-taking party, with his double-wicket over. The West Indian, first had KS Bharat caught in the deep in the ninth over and then had the prized scalp of AB de Villiers, disturbing the timber to reduce RCB to 51/4.

Varun Chakaravarthy then came to the party and picked three wickets and effected a run-out as KKR ran through the RCB batting line-up. While the mystery spinner missed out on a hat-trick, he dismissed Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga and Sachin Baby and returned with the figures of 3/13 from his four overs.

Ferguson and Russell then picked up a wicket each as KKR bowled out RCB for 92.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 94/1 (Shubman Gill 48, Venkatesh Iyer 41*; Yuzvendra Chahal 1/23) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 92 all out (Devdutt Padikkal 22, KS Bharat 16; Andre Russell 3/9) by nine wickets

( Story & photos from IPLt20.com)

U-19 cricketers Nandu & Thorne return home with invaluable experience

Guyanese Under-19 players, Matthew Nandu and Isai Thorne returned home on Sunday, September 19, 2021, after participating in the just-concluded West Indies tour of England. The two players proudly touched down on home soil after impressive performances in England.
Although West Indies won only two of six matches in the Youth ODI series, both players made noteworthy contributions to the West Indies challenging efforts. Matthew Nandu finished on a high by registering consecutive half centuries in two of the five matches he played. In his penultimate match, Nandu stroked 51, then in the final match followed up with a superb knock of 80 and bowling returns of 2 for 35, as West Indies won their second match of the series to restore some regional pride.
Young fast bowling sensation Isai Thorne was also impressive: At the tender age of 16, he demonstrated the ability, skill and mental tenacity to become an outstanding West Indies fast bowler. Evidently, Thorne received the full confidence of his captain and coach by twice being given the opportunity to bowl the total allotment of overs for a bowler. In two of the four matches he played, Thorne grabbed three wickets to finish the series with 8 wickets and leave a buzz of high expectations.
The members of the GCB expect that the unwavering commitment of Nandu and Thorne coupled with their ability and skill will make them forces to be reckoned with in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022 and beyond. The GCB will continue to provide the necessary support to these two and other players to ensure their competitive readiness for the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022.

Amazing all-round show from Shepherd secures semi-final spot for the Guyana Amazon Warriors

Guyana Amazon Warriors 142/7 (Shepherd 72*, Hemraj 21; Wasim 3/15, Green 2/19) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 128 (Green 31, Walton 20; Smith 3/20, Shepherd 3/31) by 14 runs

Guyana Amazon Warriors confirmed their place in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) semi-finals with a second consecutive win over the Jamaica Tallawahs. 

Just like the previous encounter between the two sides the Amazon Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first, and although they found themselves in a perilous position at 75/7 – a blistering Romario Shepherd 72 not out ensured they set a target the Tallawahs never looked likely to chase.

In reply the Tallawahs once again succumbed to a heavy defeat as their innings never got going amidst a cluster of regular wickets. Only late hitting from Chris Green prevented them falling to a heavy defeat.

Guyana got their innings off to a slow start as Imad Wasim and Green made early inroads to leave the Amazon Warriors teetering on 36/3.

It was to go from bad to worse when the set Chandrapaul Hemraj holed out in the deep before Shamarh Brooks took a fantastic running catch to remove the dangerous Nicholas Pooran for 9.

Wasim then struck twice in his final over to leave the Amazon Warriors at risk of not making 100. 

However, Shepherd’s power hitting counterattack took the Amazon Warriors to a very healthy 142/7 to pile all the pressure back on the Tallawahs.

The Tallawahs reply got off to a poor start when they lost the clean hitting Kennar Lewis and Kirk Mckenzie to a double wicket maiden over from Imran Tahir.

With the run rate rising Chadwick Walton offered brief respite with some boundary hitting before Hemraj got him to hole out to in the deep.

Wickets continued to fall as Smith and Shepherd got in on the act and at 42/6 the Tallawahs were left to rely on Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell to pull off an unlikely victory.

Some late heroics from Green gave them some hope but they ultimately fell to defeat and exited the tournament. 

(Story from CPLT20.com)

Pooran’s 75*, Motie’s 3/25 & Smith’s 3/21 hand Guyana Amazon Warriors victory

Guyana Amazon Warriors 169/6 (Pooran 75*, Hetmyer 23; Russell 2/35, Green 1/17) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 123 all out (Mckenzie 28, Brooks 21; Smith 3/21, Motie 3/25) by 46 runs

Guyana Amazon Warriors have one foot in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) semi-finals following a 46-run victory over the Jamaica Tallawahs

The Amazon Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first and captain Nicholas Pooran led the way with a brutal 75 not out to set the Tallawahs 170 to win.

In reply the Tallawahs succumbed to a heavy defeat as Odean Smith and Gudakesh Motie combined to bowl the Amazon Warriors to victory.

Guyana got their innings off to a steady start amassing 46 runs in the PowerPlay but they had to contend with the loss of Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj in doing so.

Despite Shimron Hetmyer then running himself out, Nicholas Pooran and Shoaib Malik put together a partnership of 54 runs from 33 balls to place Guyana in a strong position with six overs to go.

Pooran then took on the responsibility of getting his side into a good position and his pyrotechnics at the back end of the innings ensured Guyana Amazon Warriors posted a very competitive 169/6.

The Tallawahs were able to keep pace with the required run rate in the early stages of their reply as Haider Ali and Kirk Mckenzie overcame the loss of Kennar Lewis to put on a 41-run partnership.

Odean Smith’s entry into the attack proved pivotal as his two wickets in two balls swung the pendulum back in Guyana’s favour and he wasn’t done there as he also got rid of Andre Russell in a wonderful wicket maiden over.

Alongside Smith, Gudakesh Motie spun a web as his three wickets helped ensure there was no chance of an unlikely win for the Tallawahs.

The victory for the Amazon Warriors means the Tallawahs will now have to win the return game to make the semi-finals.

(Story from CPLT20.COM)

Rampaul & Chase named in West Indies T20 World Cup squad

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel today announced the West Indies squad for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021. The panel named fifteen (15) players and four (4) travelling reserves for the marquee event which will be played in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from October 17 to November 14, 2021.

West Indies are the defending world champions and only two-time winners of the ICC T20 World Cup, winning in 2012 against Sri Lanka at the Premadasa in Colombo then four years later in 2016 against England in Kolkata. The West Indies now have the opportunity to create further history by becoming the first team to win a hat-trick of ICC T20 World Cup victories.

Experienced bowler Ravi Rampaul, a member of the 2012 winning World Cup squad, has been recalled for the first time since 2015. All-rounder Roston Chase is called up to the West Indies T20I squad for the first time.

Roger Harper, CWI’s Lead Selector said:

“The squad is one with good depth and strength in all departments. There is tremendous T20 experience along with World Cup winning experience which should stand the team in good stead. This squad is made up of many world-beating players who, once knitted into a world-beating team, will be extremely difficult to beat. I expect the team to do very well and with the ‘rub of the green’ I think the team has a good chance of defending the title.”

Harper added:

“Ravi Rampaul is a highly experienced bowler who performed well in the last CG Insurance Super50 Cup and the current Hero CPL to date. He will boost the team’s wicket-taking options in the power-play and the middle phase and will provide another option for the death overs. Roston Chase has shown that he is a very capable T20 player. He performed well in the CPL in 2020 and has been outstanding in the 2021 edition so far. He has shown the ability to knit the innings together while still scoring at a fast rate with a low dot-ball percentage. He will be an excellent foil for the explosive players in the team.”

West Indies have been drawn in Group 1 and will play five group games against England, South Africa and Australia along with the winner of Round 1 Group A (Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Namibia) and the runner-up from Round 1 Group B (Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, and Oman). West Indies’ first group game will be against England in Dubai on October 23.

The groupings:

Round 1

Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, and Oman

(Top two teams from each group advance to Super 12s)

Super 12s

Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2.

Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, A2 and B1.

(Top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals)

West Indies Match Schedule

October 23: v England in Dubai (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)

October 26: v South Africa in Dubai (2pm UAE time, 6am Eastern Caribbean/5am Jamaica)

October 29: v B2 in Sharjah (2pm UAE time, 8am Eastern Caribbean/7am Jamaica)

November 4: v A1, in Abu Dhabi (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)

November 6: v Australia in Abu Dhabi (2pm UAE time, 6am Eastern Caribbean/5am Jamaica)

SEMI-FINALS

November 10: Group 1 winner v Group 1 second in Abu Dhabi (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)

November 11: Group B winner v Group A second in Dubai (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)

FINAL

November14: Final in Dubai (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)

GCB confident of Guyana hosting ICC U-19 World Cup matches

A team of officials representing the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) visited Guyana over the past weekend to inspect venues ahead of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022. Guyana, through Hon. Minister Charles Ramson had submitted a bid to host the initial stage of the ICC Under-19 World Cup. The venue inspection was aimed at determining Guyana’s readiness for this major international event.


The ICC team included a number of planning experts in Ben Leaver, Joanna Taylor, Andy Atkinson, Ruchika Rana, Hamish Roberts and Roberto Almansa. The CWI representatives were Tournament Director Fawwaz Baksh, Event Manager KJ Singh, Head Curator Kent Crafton, and representatives Krystal Jean-Baptiste and Marcus Francis. They were joined by GCB’s officials: Hon. Secretary Ronald Williams, Chief Executive Officer/Public Relation Officer Claude Raphael, Assistant Secretary Devteerth Anandjit, Technocrat on Marketing and Financing Anil Beharry and Territorial Development Officer Colin Stuart. Experienced Venue Manager Sabrina Panday was also present.


On September Saturday 4, 2021 the team visited the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, the GCB’s LBI Facility, Malteenoes Sports Club, Guyana Defence Force Ground and Enmore Community Centre. Similar inspections were conducted on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at Demerara Cricket Club (DCC), Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), Everest Cricket Club and Police Sports Club.


The President of the GCB Bissoondyal Singh has expressed his satisfaction with the visit, positing that the ICC/CWI team was very professional in their approach. He opined that the forthcoming report on the inspection will indicate what standards were met and what measures need to be undertaken.

President Singh was also pleased that the ICC and CWI representatives were able to meet with Hon. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson. Further, President Singh expressed confidence that the GCB, with the invaluable support of Hon. Minister Charles Ramson and the Government of Guyana, will ensure that all venues assigned to tournament will meet the ICC standards by mid- November 2021 when another inspection is expected.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul: An unsung Hero!

By Dev Tyagi

Every generation needs a hero. Someone who can both inspire and keep their nation’s flag fluttering with pride- isn’t that what we all seek? Perhaps more so in sport where you get a chance to blaze a trail for others to follow. Yet, there are some heroes who never truly get the credit they so deserve. Heroes who don’t get talked about often, winners you don’t hear salutations sung for despite doing everything in their might and ability to contribute.

One such hero, where it comes to the sport that unifies the Caribbean like no other, is Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

AFP PHOTO/ Prakash SINGH

Maybe it’s only just to ask a pertinent question as one of Guyana’s finest exports to cricket turns 47.

Whose loss is it that we didn’t celebrate Shivnarine Chanderpaul enough, a man who’s been a bowler grinder, run accumulator, holder of an unexplainable technique, whacker of crazy hundreds, amasser of boundless runs, and giver of hope to a team that back in those days badly needed some to merely contest in cricket, let alone win games?

That even after half a decade of the left-hander’s retirement, the revered ICC has still not found it relevant to induct one of cricket’s most disciplined, consistent, and selfless cricketers into its ‘Hall of Fame,’ is something as baffling and pitiable as the situation in present-day Afghanistan.

This, mind you, was a batsman who leveled up to Brian Charles Lara, of all willow-wielders, and had abysmal cricketing selection not intervened, would’ve gone on to surpass the “The Prince of Trinidad.”

In a sport where even if you don’t play for records, it is records, at the end of the day you end up conjuring, that Shinvarine Chanderpaul’s Test career got stalled merely 86 runs shy of Lara’s 11,953 is a sad story.

Moreover, it speaks of a brazen disregard with which some of the sport’s leading lights are often treated.

To suggest the simplest of examples, back in the cricket-obsessed land called India, the likes of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid never got a farewell Test, the kind of privilege modern masters like Tendulkar were afforded.

Similarly, in the present conception of cricket, one doesn’t quite know if Faf du Plessis, a tireless gatherer of runs for a South Africa often deflated by runs, and often stymied by politics, will get to play a farewell game.

Though in Chanderpaul’s case, the only low-scoring event, which led to his final appearance in Test cricket, circa 2015, wherein he averaged 18, saw a giant of the sport pushed to a corner, when his had been a career replete with runs doggedly collected for no fewer than 22-long years.

That we never quite gave attention to the man whose maiden season in international cricket- 2004- produced runs at the average of 50 is about as sad and absurd as overlooking the fact that the last three years prior to his departure from the game saw Chanderpaul produce runs averaging 71, 58, and- believe it or not- 98 (2014, 2013, 2012, respectively).

To many, Shiv Chanderpaul was the last remaining pillar of assurance to the West Indies that, at least, something was right about a team whose glory days belonged to the remnants of the past.

Moreover, there are sufficient examples of it, whether one speaks of his final-over six against Sri Lanka in an ODI with Vaas and Murali bowling or his 203 unbeaten runs against a Proteas pumped up with a Dale Styen bowling at peak pace.

To many others, Shiv Chanderpaul, was an old-fashioned, “bat-out-time” and “grind-the-bowlers,” batsman.

Truth, however, is, Shivnarine Chanderpaul- 125 fifties and 41 international centuries (Tests+ ODIs)- was an anomaly of sorts in the art of batting.

He was a reminder that for as long as one had the mental strength and values like discipline and toughness, often tagged ‘old world qualities,’ nothing else mattered, not even a batting stance that can only be imitated for a few laughs, not something that can be taught at a coaching clinic.

Today, when we regard the Wall of Dravid, a lot it is down to the fact that the famous right-hander, who stayed up for long periods of time, faced 31,258 deliveries.

Though, little is held to appreciate Chanderpaul, who faced not less than 27,395 deliveries, which are way more than what Carl Hooper, Sir Viv or even the great Brian Lara faced in Tests.

Although, a majority of these deliveries blasted at Chanderpaul’s watertight technique by some of the finest exponents of both spin and pace, including Lee, Shoaib, Donald, McGrath, Gillespie, Bond, Waqar and Wasim succeeded only in meeting the dead end of the bat.

Yet, that he emerged with 20,600 plus international runs (Tests+ODIs) indicates the Guyanese was more than an immovable object on the crease who was left on the 22 yards to merely frustrate bowlers.

With an open-front stance, batting with a ‘V’ like structure, Chanderpaul’s batting, lest it is forgotten, had strokes on all sides of the wicket.

During one of his imperious Test tons, the 153 against Pakistan at the Kensington Oval, captain Chanderpaul caressed when Abdul Razaq bowled a little wide repeatedly at around the vacant area between third slip and first gully.

A batsman who lacked the flair but never the resolve, Chanderpaul changed gears when needed and suddenly so, much to the benefit of a side that often found itself licking its wounds having lost one wicket too many early into a game.

Picture the marathon partnership along with his famous contemporary Carl Hooper, during the 2nd ODI at South Africa, 1999.

Of West Indies’ 292 on the board, the only grace-saving win in a series where the visitors lost 6 dreadful games, Chanderpaul contributed 150, a career-best score, on his own.

That he took just 136 odd deliveries to go berserk against a Pollock and Kallis-led attack offered greater insight into the mind of a batsman some fans still admire as the ‘Tiger.’

At Bourda, in 2003, under Lara’s leadership, it was Chanderpaul, not Samuels, Jacobs, Ganga or the Prince himself, who took on the mighty Australians in a rampant century that came of just 69-deliveries, a world record in that to this day, it’s the sixth-fastest Test ton of all times.

Not that the batsman of Indian heritage or roots went quiet against India, against whom he fired 7 of his 30 centuries with gusto and application, routing a Kumble, Srinath, Prasad and Zaheer Khan-powered India with a fourth of his career tons (Tests).

His limited-overs game saw Chanderpaul offer the team’s call to take extra responsibility with much pleasure sans any complaints.

Often opening with Gayle, and on other occasions with Hinds or Jacobs, Chandepraul kept shouldering responsibilities, and tirelessly so, even as batsmen around him came and went.

However, little did this pendulum of consistency deviate from the end goal- which was to contribute to a team’s cause even as in events where giant celebrations came about, such as the 2004 Champion’s Trophy win or the Coca Cola Singapore Cup, the man would comfortably let others hold center-stage by retreating to the background.

And it’s here where Chanderpaul’s true essence as a tireless vigilante in the middle remains: do everything for the team being the prime batsman but retreat into isolation, eschewing limelight much like the Dark Knight did when one went into search for the hero who saved Gotham, time and again.

There’ll be many who’ll come and fire way more than Chanderpaul’s 30 Test hundreds. Some will score rapider than the southpaw so, some in larger magnitude of runs, but not everyone will have the delight of earning respect, whether from a Kallis, Sangakkara or Lara himself as being the man who held onto an end so that the others could do what they fancied from the other end.

For being the keeper of the flame that is West Indies cricket, we owe a lot to you Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Enjoy your 47th!

Day 2- Brathwaite 97, Holder 58, guide WI (251-8) past Pakistan’s 217

West Indies and Pakistan’s last Test match four years ago was a classic, and if the events of the second day at Sabina Park are anything to go by, we may be in for another one over the coming days.

On an attritional day of Test cricket that didn’t swing as much as it swayed in either direction, the teams go in at stumps in a Test that refuses to decisively tip one way or another just yet. Simple math would dictate the hosts have the edge, leading as they do by 34 runs with two wickets still to spare, but with Yasir Shah in the fourth innings a historically significant factor, all bets will be off.

Kraigg Brathwaite (97) dominated the day, surviving almost through to the end after having to settle nerves after the frenetic finish of last night. He saw off each of Pakistan’s pace bowlers, the first new ball, a dangerous middle order collapse, the introduction of Yasir and two full sessions. But soon after the most threatening partnership for West Indies, between the captain and Jason Holder (58), had been broken having added 95 runs, Brathwaite was eyeing up a personal three-figure score, too – ideally before the new ball in darkening conditions, with Mohammad Abbas warming up.

It is hard to say if that played a role in his decision to hare back for a couple down to fine leg, taking on Hasan Ali, whose direct hit caught the opener well short of his ground. He had departed three runs shy of what would have been a splendid hundred, with the wicket coming at a time when West Indies had firm control over the Test. Holder carried on after tea, playing with delightful fluidity as his side pushed past 150 and bore down on Pakistan’s first innings score ominously. Yasir, not nearly at his best, was dispatched to the boundary repeatedly, and soon enough, a backfoot punch off Hasan got Holder to his 11th half century.

Faheem Ashraf provided the all-important breakthrough, subtle seam movement drawing Holder into a push that resulted in a feather through to Mohammad Rizwan. Once Brathwaite fell, the visitors had a real opening, but wayward lines with the new ball, particularly from Shaheen Afridi, saw the lower order continue to eke out runs as Joshua Da Silva manipulated the strike intelligently. By the time the umpires began worrying about the light, West Indies already had a sizeable lead they will be keen to build on tomorrow.

In overcast conditions in the morning, Abbas had picked up exactly where he left off the previous day and was the pick of the bowlers, peppering the corridor of uncertainty between a good and full length. Roston Chase and Brathwaite had to be especially sure of their footwork, with the seam movement Abbas was generating an additional challenge.

Afridi let his high standards dip somewhat, beginning with two leg-side deliveries that trickled away for four leg-byes each. It settled West Indies’ nerves, and once Chase drove Abbas straight down the ground, the runs off the bat became more frequent. Before long, they had brought up a half-century stand.

But just as West Indies looked poised to take control, Pakistan struck. Hasan, who had been testing the pair in his first three overs, especially when they got on the front foot, coaxed an expansive front-foot drive from Chase that wasn’t really on. It produced a tickle through to Rizwan, with an anguished look from the batter revealing quite how ordinary the shot was.

The second session was a dogged, scrappy affair that – one sensational over from Afridi aside – West Indies negotiated with relative conviction. The problem for them, though, was that the session would be defined by four balls from Afridi more than anything any batter could manage.

Just after West Indies brought up the 100, Pakistan broke through with the wicket they had threatened before lunch. Jermaine Blackwood’s punchy counter-attacking knock might have been evocative of Rizwan’s cameo on the first day but it wasn’t nearly as assured, with all four of his boundaries coming off shots he wasn’t in control of. Afridi landed one in the slot for him to go after, but with the ball wobbling in the air, Blackwood only managed to toe-end it to Abbas at long-on. The very next ball, Kyle Mayers was struck full on the pad, and found himself departing for a golden duck.

It might have gotten worse for West Indies. Two balls later, the irrepressible Afridi had Holder trapped in front, with the umpire raising the finger. The allrounder would survive by the barest of margins, with the review showing the ball pitching just outside leg stump.

Holder understood the magnitude of the moment, and dug in. He did not score until a straight drive off his 12th delivery, and didn’t score again for 22 more balls. He knew the chance would eventually come, and a wayward Yasir over towards the back-end of the session allowed him to take three boundaries off it. Brathwaite, meanwhile, might as well be batting on a different surface.

His patience was exemplary, his shot selection immaculate. When Pakistan appeared to be having one of their purple patches, he had the awareness to retreat completely into his shell and place an even greater value on his wicket, and with Holder keeping the scoring ticking over at the other end, West Indies began to take control.

The quick departure of both let Pakistan back in, though, and it feels increasingly as if it might all come down to fine margins again. Just as it did in 2017.

Stumps West Indies 251 for 8 (Brathwaite 97, Holder 58, Abbas 3-42) lead Pakistan 217 by 34 runs

(Story from ESPNcricinfo by Danyal Rasool)

Seales, Holder restrict Pak to 217, WI reeling at 2-2 in reply

West Indies dominated the opening day of the first Test after Pakistan lost wickets in a hurry to be bowled out for 217. That, until Pakistan struck back fiercely in the third over as Mohammed Abbas sent back Kieran Powell and Nkrumah Bonner for ducks in successive deliveries to peg West Indies back. Bad light forced Pakistan an early close to Day 1 in Jamaica with the hosts ending the day on 2 for 2 in four overs.

The only reason Pakistan got to a total of over 200 was thanks to Fawad Alam, who kept West Indies at bay with a more-than-handy 56 after his side were reduced to 123 for 5 at one stage. Faheem Ashraf and Alam settled into a sixth-wicket stand that was worth 85 keeping West Indies at bay. They scored at a quick pace with boundaries flowing at will. Anything pitched outside off, they put away as the pair revived Pakistan’s innings that seemed to be going nowhere. Ashraf fell against the run of play on 44 when he was caught short of his crease when going for a quick run as West Indies broke the resilient stand. Alam fell soon after and the rest followed as Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 31 runs.

The middle session was a drama-filled one in Jamaica with as many as six reviews taken in the 32 overs bowled after Lunch on Thursday (August 12) after West Indies opted to bowl. After an early lunch break was forced due to a rain interruption just 17 overs into the opening day’s play, West Indies’ bowlers continued where they left off and were right on the money after resumption. Just like they had bowled in the morning session with utmost discipline, they posed questions right from the first over after lunch when Azhar Ali was given out caught-behind, poking at one. The batsman reviewed it and with nothing on UltraEdge, the decision was reversed. He went on to add 47 runs with Babar Azam as the third-wicket duo steadied the Pakistan ship.

Azhar was on the edge once again when he was given out leg-before after shouldering arms to an in-seamer. He reviewed once again to find the ball going over the stumps. Jason Holder didn’t relent, once again going for a review for a leg-before call against the batsman, who was saved by the umpire’s call in terms of the impact despite the ball crashing into the stumps. Azhar survived his fourth LBW call with the ball found to be missing leg stump.

Mohammad Abbas

However, it was fifth time lucky for West Indies as Jayden Seales forced an outside edge off Azhar’s bat as the batsman fended an away-seamer. Pakistan once again, like in the first session, lost two wickets in successive overs as Roach then beat Babar on the inside edge off a sharp in-seamer. Babar was initially given not out, but West Indies reviewed as a spike was spotted on UltraEdge, forcing him to make the long walk back for 30.

Seales then thought he had Mohammed Rizwan leg-before but the impact was slightly outside off and saved the batsman as there was still no sign of spin. Rizwan, however, couldn’t make the most of his reprieve departing via a soft dismissal flicking a full delivery straight to Roston Chase stationed at square leg, ending a reviving fifth-wicket stand of 33 with Alam. Alam thereafter joined hands with the lower order to save Pakistan the blushes.

Brief scores: Pakistan217 (Babar Azam 30, Fawad Alam 56, Faheem Ashraf 44; Kemar Roach 2-47, Jayden Seales 3-70, Jason Holder 3-26)lead West Indies 2/2 (Mohammad Abbas 2-0) by 215 runs.

(Story from Cricbuzz)