Hamilton hits high

Hamilton, Reifer propel Windies 'A' to big lead over England Lions

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jahmar Hamilton made a battling century and Raymon Reifer fell just five runs short of three figures as West Indies “A” batted themselves into an almost impregnable position in the second unofficial four-day “Test” against touring England Lions at Sabina Park.

At close of play on yesterday's second day, the Lions were 34 without loss in their second innings, and still trail by a whopping 243 runs.

Before that the West Indies “A” piled up a first-innings score of 422 in response to the Lions' mediocre 145.

Scores: England Lions 145 (57 overs) & 34-0 (18 overs); West Indies “A” 422 (110.4 overs).

The 27-year-old Hamilton struck an even 100 from 186 balls for his sixth first-class hundred. The left-handed Reifer, 26, was dismissed on 95 from 179 deliveries to miss out on his second century at this level. The two added 102 runs for the sixth wicket.

The visitors' slow left-arm bowler Jack Leach, who took eight wickets in his team's loss in the first “Test” last week, had figures of 6-138 on a pitch that flattened out yesterday and suited the batsmen with even bounce and pace.

Leeward Islands player Hamilton, who missed the first match of the series but was drafted for this encounter in place of left-hander Vishal Singh, said the 72-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Shane Dowrich (43) set the stage for the big total.

“I had to fight it out because it wasn't that easy yesterday [Sunday] but I knew come today the pitch would have been better for batting.

“It was very important that me and Dowrich had a good partnership and we knew once we batted the first hour into today we'd keep them in the sun a little longer,” the native of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands told journalists during an interview at close of play.

Leach, while saying patience was the key to his bowling performance, vowed that his team will not give up.

“It was tough going today, obviously [spent] a lot of time in the field and the wicket was quite flat in the end, so it was a case of being patient and waiting for them to make mistakes.

“The boys are going to fight hard, and the wicket is looking flatter, so we got to believe...we can pull something out of the bag,” the 26-year-old spinner insisted.

Yesterday, West Indies “A” resumed from their overnight score of 159-4, with Dowrich unbeaten on 20 and Hamilton on 17.

Dowrich began in commanding fashion, pulling pacer James Porter and Leach for exquisite boundaries through mid-wicket.

But he perished in the first session when he top-edged a sweep shot off Leach to Gubbins at deep backward square.

Hamilton was more subdued but he opened up after reaching 50 — a lovely drive to the cover boundary off Roland Jones was one of the highlights.

He also played some short-pitch deliveries from the industrious seamer Paul Coughlin in admirable fashion. When not expertly swaying out the way and dropping his wrist, he was up on his toes and chopping down with the flashing blade to send the ball racing to the fence backward of point.

Another cover drive to the ropes — the 17th of the innings — brought up his hundred before he went in soft circumstances, chipping a delivery from seamer Toby Roland-Jones to Joe Clarke at mid- wicket at 302-6.

At the other end, Reifer also showed his batting credentials, mixing caressed off-drives with a few booming efforts as he marched past 50.

Rahkeem Cornwall (25), Jomel Warrican (seven), Jeremiah Loius (14) all stuck around with the left-hander to lift the score to 410-9.

But Reifer was last man dismissed when he walked too far across his stumps and was bowled behind his legs by the irrepressible Leach.

Staring down the barrel of a 277-run deficit, England Lions' openers Haseeb Hameed, not out on 18, and skipper Keaton Jennings, on 11, ensured they saw off 18 overs without any mishap.




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