(64 not out), Roberts (58) lead fightback
Guyana still hold upper hand

By Frederick Halley
Guyana Chronicle
February 5, 2001

HALF-centuries from Richard Smith (64 not out) and Lincoln Roberts (58) saw Trinidad and Tobago staging a rearguard fightback against Guyana, who still held the upper hand, in their fifth round Busta Cup encounter at the Enmore Community Development Centre ground yesterday.

At the end of the penultimate day, the visitors were 212 for five, still needing a further 39 runs, with five second innings wickets intact, to avoid an innings defeat.

Guyana had earlier declared their first innings closed at 357 for nine, gaining a first innings lead of 251 after Trinidad and Tobago had succumbed for 106 on the opening day.

Unlike their first innings debacle, the Trinidadians showed more grit and determination despite losing their captain Suruj Ragoonath (15) before lunch after Guyana had extended their first innings 74 minutes into the morning session with overnight batsman Carl Hooper taking his score from 117 to 142.

Guyana struck in the last over before the lunch interval when Ragoonath hit off-spinner Kevin Bazil's first delivery straight to Hooper at short mid-on.

Denis Rampersad (19) added 31 with opener Leon Romero for the second-wicket before Azeemul Haniff brought off a stinging catch at first slip to get rid of the former off left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell.

Roberts, who entered the fray with his team on 53 for two, made his intentions quite clear, clobbering Bazil over long-off for six and followed this up with two consecutive fours.

By tea, Roberts had rushed to 42 after sharing a 33-run third-wicket stand with Romero (24) while new batsman Smith was on 13. Romero went via the LBW route, playing across a straight delivery from leg-spinner Ron Matthews.

Roberts reached his 50 shortly after the interval by lofting McGarrell for his third six, then drove him exquisitely through extra cover with the next ball. He was however undone in the next over when he was adjudged lbw by umpire Basil Morgan off fast bowler Kevin Darlington.

A dejected Roberts, who shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 47 in 46 minutes with Smith, took some time before he left the crease and also made a delayed walk back to the pavilion, prompting boos from sections of the crowd. His sparkling innings included three sixes and six fours in 70 minutes batting from 78 balls.

Roberts' dismissal paved the way for the best partnership of the innings with Smith and Keno Mason adding 63 for the fifth-wicket and keeping their team's chances of at least keeping the game alive.

The two seemed at home to both pace and spin, with Smith in particular playing a number of handsome strokes on both sides of the wicket.

Guyana were however able to separate the pair, courtesy of another lbw decision when Mason (23) was given marching orders by umpire Morgan.

Unlike Roberts, his stay in the playing area was not as long. He however caused quite a commotion in the dressing room, hitting his bat on the ground and against the wall repeatedly, necessitating a meeting between himself, Match Referee Judister Rampersaud and Trinidad and Tobago manager Ian Bishop. Roberts was also reportedly summoned to the meeting.

Smith, in the meantime, stayed towards the end having as his partner, first innings topscorer Darrel Brown, who was undefeated on five. He has so far struck five fours, faced 130 balls and batted 151 minutes.

McGarrell has so far taken two for 58 while there was one wicket each for Matthews, Darlington and Bazil for 39, 43 and 56 runs respectively.

Earlier, Guyana, resuming at their overnight 314 for six, lost three wickets for an addition of 43 runs before the declaration came.

Skipper Hooper, who was 117, was the ninth man out, comprehensively bowled by Brown, trying to cut loose after losing Vishal Nagamootoo (11), lbw to the same bowler, and Matthews (three), caught by wicketkeeper Navin Chan off Roberts. Hooper, who took his tally of runs in the tournament to 517, hit two sixes and 11 fours in his superlative innings.

Brown ended with four for 80 and Roberts three for 45.

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