JAMAICA captain Tamar Lambert praised the bowling of all-rounder David Bernard after the seamer took seven second-innings wickets in the fifth-round regional four-day win against Trinidad & Tobago at the Queen's Park Oval.
Lambert told the Observer yesterday that Bernard "bowled brilliantly" and noted that his performance exemplifies the strength of the Jamaican bowling attack.
"Bernard has been bowling fairly well so far this season, but didn't get many wickets. Against Trinidad he bowled brilliantly in the second innings and it's an example of the bowling unit that we have. Anyone can step up and deliver on the day," he said moments after the team arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport.
Aside from Bernard's splendid display, there were noteworthy bowling performances from pacers Andrew Richardson and Sheldon Cotterell, as well as spinners Nikita Miller and Odean Brown.
Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, who has been drafted into the West Indies squad to face Australia, scorched his 12th first-class hundred, while Danza Hyatt and Donovan Pagon each struck important half-centuries.
The victory over T&T marked five in as many outings for Jamaica in the preliminary phase of the competition as they seek to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive four-day title.
Jamaica, on 60 points, comfortably lead second-placed Guyana (36) and cannot be caught by any team in the chasing pack.
Trinidad & Tobago are third on 28 points, while Barbados follow on 24. The Windward Islands (16), Combined Campuses and Colleges (12), and the Leewards (12) are the other three teams.
While buoyed by an emphatic lead and the dominant run to the semi-final, where Jamaica will have the comfort of home advantage, Lambert emphasised that some areas needed improvement.
"It's definitely a confidence booster that we have done so well in those games. We have been playing some good cricket. That is the fifth victory on the trot, but there are still some areas of concern.
"Our openers have not been getting the starts so that is something we have to look at. In some games we have not batted so well in the second innings. Those are areas we want to improve in so right now we are just looking to play some better cricket as the season goes on," he said.
Jamaica round out their preliminary fixtures against the Combined Campuses at the Three Ws Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados from March 23-26.
Points standings after fifth round
P W L Pts
Jamaica 5 5 - 60
Guyana 5 3 2 36
T&T 4 2 2 28
Barbados 4 2 2 24
Windwards 4 1 3 16
CCC 4 1 3 12
Leewards 4 1 3 12
Barbados vs Leeward Islands at Kensington
Trinidad and Tobago vs Guyana at Queen's Park
Windward Islands vs CCC at Grenada Stadium
Bowling hero David Bernard Jnr (right) and Jamaican teammate Donovan Pagon on arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport from Trinidad and Tobago yesterday. (Photo: Michael Gordon)