BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – A career-best spell from Jeremiah Louis set things up and the top-order batsmen carried Leeward Islands Hurricanes to an early lead against Barbados Pride in the Regional 4-Day Championship on Wednesday.
Louis grabbed 6-69 from 14.2 overs, as the Pride, sent in to bat on a helpful Kensington Oval pitch, were bowled out for a modest 113 in their first innings about 55 minutes before tea on the first day of their key second-round match.
Ashley Nurse, batting at nine, hit the top score of 45 for the Pride and Justin Greaves was the only other batsman to reach 20, as the Pride batting fell for their lowest total ever against the Hurricanes.
Veteran Gavin Tonge wreaked the early havoc, ending 3-5 from eight overs before Louis made mincemeat of the rest of the Pride batting.
The batting, led by Akeem Saunders with 41, followed up the work of the bowlers, taking the Hurricanes to 116 for four in reply when bad light stopped play about 20 minutes past the scheduled close with four overs remaining to meet the daily quota.
Earlier, Mervyn Matthew made the early breakthrough, when he had left-handed opener Anthony Alleyne caught behind for one in the third over.
Tonge, quite possibly the most under-rated fast-medium bowler in the regional game, swung the gates over when he removed rookie batsman Aaron Jones, caught at mid-on for a duck, and left-hander Jonathan Carter, edging an ill-advised, loose drive to the ‘keeper, from the first two deliveries in his fifth over.
Louis got into the frame, when he bowled Pride captain Kevin Stoute with a perfect, in-swinging yorker that spectacularly spread-eagled the stumps to leave the hosts 18 for four inside the first hour.
Tonge had left-hander opener Shayne Moseley caught at slip three overs later before Louis added the scalps of Kenroy Williams lbw for eight and Mario Rampersaud caught in the gully for a duck to sink the Pride to 55 for seven at lunch.
After the interval, Nurse batted with typical aplomb, smashing seven fours and one six from 41 balls in three-quarters of an hour, sharing 59 for the eighth wicket with Greaves.
Louis had Nurse caught at short mid-wicket just before the Pride reached 100 and Greaves caught at second slip after they had passed the milestone.
Louis brought the innings to a close, when he bowled Jomel Warrican for 11, spectacularly extracting the batsman’s middle-stump with a well-pitched yorker.
Shakeem Clarke, the son of late West Indies fast bowler Sylvester Clarke, grabbed an early scalp for the Pride, when he had left-handed opener Chesney Hughes caught at mid-off.
For around 45 minutes, Keacy Carty defied the Pride attack with Saunders before he was caught at second slip off Stoute for 19.
Hurricanes captain Devon Thomas came to the crease and further tilted the balance in his side’s favour with a stand of 47 for the third wicket with Saunders, but fell to left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican caught at mid-off for 25.
Hurricanes were 78 for three and with more than 20 overs remaining in the day, the chase was on to get the lead.
Saunders continued to bat with confidence, striking four fours and one six, and Nkrumah Bonner played with his typical nonchalance to inch them past the Pride total.
Part-time off-spinner Kenroy Williams put a smile on the face of the Pride players however, when he had Saunders caught at forward short leg following which the umpires considered the quality of the light was insufficient to continue.
The two teams started this game a day earlier than the rest of the teams, due to the state funeral of former Barbados Governor-General, Sir Clifford Husbands, on Friday in Bridgetown.
They play Wednesday and Thursday, enjoy a rest day on Friday, before returning to complete the match on Saturday and Sunday.
Hurricanes entered the match second on 10.8 points – a mere 0.4 ahead of the third-placed Pride.
PRIDE 1st Innings
A Alleyne c wkpr Thomas b Matthew 1
S Moseley c Hughes b Tonge 13
A Jones c Louis b Tonge 0
J Carter c wkpr Thomas b Tonge 0
*K Stoute b Louis 2
K Williams lbw b Louis 8
J Greaves c Bonner b Louis 20
+M Rampersaud c Warde b Louis 0
A Nurse c Campbell b Louis 45
J Warrican b Louis 11
S Clarke not out 0
Extras (lb12, w1) 13
TOTAL (all out, 36.2 overs) 113
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-15, 3-15, 4-18, 5-28, 6-28, 7-34, 8-93, 9-108
Bowling: Matthew 14-3-27-1; Tonge 8-4-5-3; Louis 14.2-3-69-6 (w1)
HURRICANES 1st Innings
C Hughes c Stoute b Clarke 9
K Carty c Nurse b Stoute 19
A Saunders c Moseley b Williams 41
*+D Thomas c Alleyne b Warrican 25
N Bonner not out 20
J Taylor not out 0
Extras (nb2) 2
TOTAL (4 wkts, 47 overs) 116
T Warde, M Matthew, J Louis, G Tonge, J Campbell to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-31, 3-78, 4-116
Bowling: Greaves 10-6-7-0; Clarke 8-3-15-1 (nb1); Stoute 8-4-14-1; Nurse 6-0-41-0 (nb1); Warrican 10-3-26-1; Williams 5-1-13-1
Position: Hurricanes trail by three with six first innings wickets standing
Umpires: G Brathwaite, D Ramdhanie (Trinidad & Tobago)
Match referee: S Proverbs
Reserve umpire: R Willoughby