A fine spell of seam bowling on Saturday from all-rounder Keemo Paul, took the Guyana Jaguars within touching distance of victory against the Barbados Pride after an eventful day remaining in round five of their Regional 4-Day match at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.
Prior to bad light stopping play with just 2.4 overs remaining on the third day, Paul, the 19-year-old ex-West Indies U19 player, followed up his first innings haul of 5-59, with a magical second innings spell of 4-38 which left the Pride reeling at 126-7 from 37.2 overs with a slight lead of 106 runs heading into the final day. Mario Rampersaud (01*) and Jonathan Carter (14*) will resume their innings on the final day.
Earlier, replying to the Prides first innings score of 294, the Jaguars resuming on 180-4, were bowled out for 314 in 105.5 overs thanks to some brilliant counter-punching by openers Chandrapaul Hemraj (79) and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (52), who laid the foundation up front with their opening century stand.
However, the real star turned out to be the left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie who was unbeaten on three at close of play on day two, but resumed his innings on day three with much positivity; carrying his bat unbeaten after a composed knock of 72 including 10 fours and a six.
Barbados Pride were indebted to their pair of West Indies international spinners who helped pull things back a bit. Off-spinner Ashley Nurse returned from injury with brilliant figures of 3-33 while left-arm slow bowler Jomel Warrican was a bit expensive but bowled well to end with 3-91.
With a deficit of 20 runs, Barbados endured a nightmare start to their second batting innings, losing opener Shayne Moseley for just 5 runs after edging fast-bowler Keon Joseph (1-23) into the waiting hands of Vishaul Singh in slips.
Pride moved from 9-0 to 37-2 when their skipper Shamarh Brooks got a bit over-excited after hitting five crisp fours in his 22 off 27 balls, falling to Paul who disturbed the batsman’s timber in the 12th over of the afternoon session.
A fired-up Paul seemed to be going for the jugulars as he had another Barbados wicket in the bag a few overs later when Kevin Stoute had his bat edge broken by the seamer and eventually caught by Bramble behind the stumps for 11.
After some resistance and few good strokes, Alleyne joined the company of his fallen teammates after gifting a reasonably good start to seamer Sherfane Rutherford (2-40), who had his first wicket of the day.
Crisis-man from the first innings, Justin Greaves failed to repeat his heroics and was caught behind by Bramble off Paul; who had his fourth victim of the innings while Rutherford followed up with a beauty to knock over Ashley Nurse for 1.
Play ended calmly for the Pride whose tail-enders managed to see out the remaining overs ahead of stumps which came when the artificial lights were taking effects.
At the start of the day, when play began, night-watchman Motie and Shivnarine Chanderpaul who was on 15, were tasked with building on the Jaguars overnight score of 180 Warrican got into the action first by removing the legend Chanderpaul for 30 after the left-hander hit a delivery straight back into the clutches of the bowler.
The out-of-favor West Indies Test bowler then bagged Anthony Bramble’s wicket for a duck when the Jaguars wicket-keeper/batsman was trapped lbw, the following delivery.
Motie batted liked a top-order batsman, picking off the bad deliveries while playing the good ones on merit as he raised his fifty off just 97 balls. Paul faced some 69 balls for his 19 runs, adding 45 for the seventh-wicket with Motie before he had his stumps rattled by Kenroy Williams (1-50) shortly before lunch.
When play resumed, Rutherford looked good as he hit three fours and a six in his 25 before Nurse removed him as well as the rest of tail-enders; including Veerasammy Permaul (4) and Keon Joseph (0).
Weather permitting, a Jaguars victory is on the cards today but a repeat of 2015 when they were chasing 69 for victory were bowled out for 66 will be fresh on their minds. Action in the fourth and final day will begin at 09:00h.