Allen, Miller star, as Scorpions eye victory

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, December 03, 2017

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Fabian Allen and Captain Nikita Miller combined forces to propel Jamaica Scorpions to the cusp of victory over Windward Islands Volcanoes at close of play yesterday, in the fifth-round regional four-day cricket match at Sabina Park in Kingston.

The Volcanoes are set to resume their second innings at 169-6 on this morning's final day, with the pitch, though showing wear and offering turn to the slow bowlers, still looking good for batting.

Compact middle order batsman Roland Cato is unbeaten on 41, while number eight batsman Shane Shillingford is on eight.

They lead by only 17 runs with four wickets intact after they had surrendered a 152-run, first-innings lead to the Scorpions.

Scores: Volcanoes 200 (83 overs) & 169-6 (66 overs); Scorpions 352 (126 overs).Slow left-arm orthodox bowler Miller ended yesterday with 5-45 from 25 overs to add to his five wickets in the first innings. The 35-year-old spinner has taken 10-wicket match hauls in back-to-back outings since missing the first three games of the season due to a haemorrhoid operation.

The backbone of the Scorpions' healthy, first-innings reply of 352 was a 141-run stand between Allen and Miller for the ninth wicket.

Allen, the 22-year-old middle order batsman, made a fluent 105 not out for his second century of the season. Miller supported with 52.

The Volcanoes, who at one point on Friday's second day had the Scorpions teetering on 209-8, were found wanting in the field, giving up a total of 35 extras, including 17 no balls.

But their off-spinner Shane Shillingford, 34, did his best to smooth over the cracks. He exhibited stamina and guile in capturing 7-94 off 44 overs — his 39th time claiming five wickets or more in a first class innings.

Earlier, the Scorpions resumed their first innings from an overnight score of 261-8 with Allen on 57 and Miller on 29. As they extended their partnership under the morning sun, the Volcanoes wilted under the pressure.

Allen, who missed the Scorpions' two previous matches due to injury, had already displayed his quality with an unbeaten 169 — his maiden regional four-day hundred — away to Trinidad and Tobago Red Force a few weeks ago. At Sabina Park yesterday, he drove and cut effortlessly to both pace and spin to bring up another triple-figure landmark. He tallied 11 fours while facing 203 balls.

Miller was vastly more patient, hitting a solitary boundary in his half-century before being dismissed by Shillingford in a knock which spanned 179 deliveries. Shillingford also accounted for last man Reynard Leveridge (nought).Faced with a significant deficit, the visitors were desperate for a solid platform from skipper Tyrone Theophile and his opening partner, Devon Smith in the second innings.It was not to be.

Theophile, who appeared restless while making eight, loosely drove a delivery from aggressive fast bowler Leveridge into the grasp of Damion Jacobs at mid-on, with the score 16-1.

Smith and Taryck Gabriel put on 65 runs for the second wicket in positive fashion, but Miller eventually separated them. The left-arm spinner had Gabriel (30) edging behind the stumps for wicketkeeper Steven Taylor to snatch the opportunity. And Miller had the big one not long after — the left-hander Smith giving a catch to an alert Trevon Griffith fielding close to the bat on the leg side.

Smith, who scored 116 not out in the first innings, made an attractive 41 second time around, but his demise left the Volcanoes' batting appearing quite vulnerable. The skilful Miller accounted for Donwell Hector (two), Kyle Mayers (seven) and Smith's nephew Denis Smith (30) to carry the Scorpions within touching distance of their second win of the campaign.




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