West Indies Four-Day Championship 2023: Johnson’s brilliant century lifts Guyana Harpy Eagles
By Brandon Corlette at Providence
National captain Leon Johnson scored his seventh First-Class century as he displayed a high-level of class and maturity against Jamaica Scorpions at Providence. The elegant left-hander, who scored back-to-back fifties in the third round, converted in this fourth round of the West Indies Championship as Guyana ended day one on 268-9 in 86.3 overs.
This is Johnson’s first century at First-Class level since 2020, when he scored 189 against Windward Islands Volcanoes in Grenada.
Earlier, Jamaica won the toss and opted to bowl first. Guyana had left out Shamar Joseph and Antony Adams, while Anthony Bramble was still recovering from a blow to the face that he sustained while wicket-keeping.
Jamaica had a golden start when Marquino Mindley destroyed the middle stump of Test opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul. He was sent back for a duck the second ball of the match. Mindley then continued to probe, and found the outside edge of Matthew Nandu for one at 4-2.
Kemol Savory, who is fresh off a century, laboured for 26 balls and scored only one, as Guyana were 26-3. The left-handed Savory was trapped at the crease by seamer Ojay Shields. Kevlon Anderson was joined by his skipper Johnson, and the duo looked to redirect the innings in Guyana’s favour.
Anderson struck five fours and looked set for a big score, but he played a poor shot in hanging his bat to a wide delivery, and was caught at second slip by Jermaine Blackwood on the stroke of lunch. The Berbician made 36 from 65 balls.
Guyana reached 55-4 at lunch with Johnson unbeaten on 15. Tevin Imlach, who has had an ordinary season thus far, was showing grit and determination with his captain, and the duo batted Guyana to a safe position at tea at 151-4 in 54 overs.
Imlach and Johnson added a 126-run partnership that displayed solid batting and sharp running between the wickets. Imlach eventually edged one to the keeper for 46 from 105 ball, with Guyana reduced to 181-4.
Johnson continued to entertain the small but vocal crowd, but lost partners in Kevin Sinclair (10), Veerasammy Permaul (00) and Gudakesh Motie (08). The skipper reached his seventh First-Class century in pulling leg-spinner Mansingh for a single. He reached the milestone in 203 balls, and had scored 10 fours at that stage.
Johnson looked aggressive at the latter stages of the day, and his majestic straight drive was a signature of his top innings. Ronsford Beaton was dismissed on the stroke of stumps when he was trapped at the wicket by Jermaine Blackwood for one. Mindley, Shields and Green each have two wickets. Day two will resume at 10:00h with Johnson on 142 not out.