PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Hundreds from their current captain Denesh Ramdin and a former captain Jason Mohammed in a record, fourth-wicket stand gave Trinidad & Tobago Red Force the early leg up on Windward Islands Volcanoes in the Regional 4-Day Championship on Thursday.
Ramdin was undefeated on 104 – his second hundred of the season – and Mohammed, playing his first match, was unbeaten on 100, as the Red Force reached 334 for three in their first innings at the close, after they were sent in to bat on the first day of the third-round match at Queen’s Park Oval.
The pair have so far shared 194 – unbroken – for the fourth wicket, double a 97-run second-wicket stand between West Indies batsman Kyle Hope and West Indies “A” Team left-hander Yannic Cariah that set Red Force up, after the early dismissal of left-handed opener Amir Jangoo.
Ramdin, the former West Indies captain and wicketkeeper/batsman, is looking to once again convince the West Indies selection panel that he is a high-calibre player.
He reached his 14th first-class hundred from 148 balls, when he smashed part-time off-spinner Kavem Hodge into the leg-side for the last of his nine fours.
Many believe that Mohammed has had a raw deal from the West Indies selectors and should have been elevated to the Test side already.
Two overs later, he gave firm evidence that they may be right, when he collected two runs off Hodge in the final over of the day to reach his sixth first-class hundred from 167 balls.
Ramdin and Mohammed erased the 15-year-old mark set by Dwayne Bravo and Richard Smith for the highest fourth-wicket stand for Red Force in a Regional 4-Day match against Volcanoes at Guaracara Park in the south Trinidad oil community of Pointe-A-Pierre.
Sherman Lewis has so far been the pick of the Volcanoes’ bowler, taking 2-42 from 15 overs, but he and the rest of the visitors’ attack were made to work overtime on an easy-paced pitch.
Lewis had early success, when he had Jangoo caught in the slips for three in the third over of the day, but Hope and Cariah, both batting with purpose, set the tone for the rest of the batting.
Hope is following the West Indies selection panel’s advice to return to the regional competition to find his form and confidence again, after failing to make the most of his opportunity with the West Indies senior team over the last three months.
Cariah, last season’s leading scorer, was part of the West Indies “A” Team, but failed to make the cut for any of the recent three “Tests” against Sri Lanka “A” before being overlooked for the One-day series, and is looking to telegraph his disappointment to the selection panel.
The two carried Red Force to 82 for one at lunch and took them past 100 before Hope, whose knock included eight fours and one six from 108 balls, gave Lewis a return catch, when he top-edged a hook at a short, rising ball.
Cariah emerged from a circumspect start and carried on defiantly when Mohammed came to the crease, and was just getting into stride when he miscued a pull at a bouncer from Lewis and was caught at short mid-wicket, as Red Force reached 172 for three at tea.
After the break, Ramdin and Mohammed showed little or no mercy to the Volcanoes’ bowlers, as they plundered runs at an average rate of 4.5 an over.
Ramdin collected a hat-trick of fours in Kyle Mayers’ 15th over – the second after tea – and Mohammed collected a six off Shane Shillingford’s off-spin over long-off before he later hit successive fours of Hodge’s fourth over inside the final hour.
Their effort ensured that Red Force have already bagged four batting points and will be looking to collect the maximum fifth, as Volcanoes hunt at least another bowling point before statutory 110 overs have expired on the second day on Friday.
RED FORCE 1st Innings
K Hope c and b Lewis 68
+A Jangoo c Smith b Lewis 3
Y Cariah c Gabriel b Jordan 49
J Mohammed not out 100
*D Ramdin not out 104
Extras (lb5, w1, nb4) 10
TOTAL (3 wkts, 90 overs) 334
T Webster, R Primus, I Khan, K Pierre, B Charles, D St. Clair to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-101, 3-140
Bowling: Lewis 15-3-42-2 (w1); Jordan 13-0-58-1 (nb1); Mayers 18-6-49-0 (nb2); Shillingford 20-1-73-0; Sebastien 12-1-52-0 (nb1); Theophile 5-0-26-0; Hodge 7-0-29-0
VOLCANOES: D Smith, *T Theophile, T Gabriel, K Edwards, K Hodge, L Sebastien, K Mayers, +G Benjamin, S Shillingford, R Jordan, S Lewis
Umpires: D Ramdhanie, G Brathwaite (Barbados)
Match referee: M Ragoonath
Reserve umpire: K Kowlessar