OPENER Jeremy Solozano maintained his good form this season, stroking an unbeaten 78 to prop the TT Red Force against Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the West Indies Four-Day Championships at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, yesterday.
Solozano’s knock led the Red Force to 149 for four at the close of day two in response to the Hurricanes' first innings massive total of 425. Red Force still trail by 276 runs and will need a valiant effort with the bat today to reach anywhere close to the visitors' total.
The Red Force looked to be in a fairly comfortable position at stumps with Solozano and captain Denesh Ramdin at the crease. But 10 minutes before close of play, Ramdin was caught for 31 at mid-wicket by Akeem Saunders off Jeremiah Louis. Nightwatchman Daniel St Clair stayed to the end with Solozano. The 23-year-old Solozano, who scored a century in TT’s opening match against Windward Islands Volcanoes, has faced 166 deliveries and struck 16 fours in over three hours at the crease.
The left-hander said his team still has a chance despite losing the experienced Ramdin. “We lost the captain late but the team still has more batting to come and everybody on the team is capable of batting. I believe we are capable of putting up a good score and a good fight tomorrow,” Solozano said. Red Force will be counting on him and Yannic Cariah to do the bulk of the scoring today.
Solozano said his team-mates needed to show more application against a disciplined Leewards bowling attack.
“The bowlers were bowling tight and were not really giving you much loose balls. It was just about concentrating hard and just waiting on your strengths,” he said.
Red Force lost Kyle Hope early, edging fast bowler Louis to wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton for three.
Amir Jangoo and Solozano played positively against Hurricanes pacers Louis and Alzarri Joseph to guide Red Force to 57/1 at tea. Solozano dominated the 65-run second wicket partnership with some well-timed cover drives.
He got some luck as well as he almost played onto his stumps off Joseph but the ball went to the boundary.
Jangoo survived a confident leg-before appeal from spinner Rahkeem Cornwall but failed to push on. In the same over, Cornwall breached Jangoo's defence and rattled his stumps as TT slipped to 76/2.
Solozano brought up his 50 with an inside egde for four off Joseph as Jason Mohammed joined him.
Cornwall ensured Mohammed’s innings was short, inducing an edge to give Devon Thomas the catch at first slip.
Solozano and Ramdin defiantly pushed TT along before the latter perished late in the day,
Earlier, the Hurricanes were dismissed shortly after lunch for 425 after resuming on 291/6. Montcin Hodge, who was 112 not out overnight, eventually fell for 158.
Hodge faced 343 deliveries and struck 19 fours and one six in his knock that lasted more than seven hours.
The Hurricanes also got key contributions from Louis (51 not out) and Terance Warde (26) yesterday that led to more frustration for the Red Force bowlers. Those innings added to the 65 scored by Cornwall and the 41 contributed by Saunders on Friday.
Leg spinner Imran Khan had a heavy workload, bowling 48 overs, in which he took 2/130. Fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and St Clair grabbed 3/54 in 21 overs and 3/61 in 19.4 overs respectively. Today’s play will start at 10 am.
RED FORCE VS LEEWARDS
Leewards 1st inns (291/6 overnight)
M Hodge b B Charles*158
K Powell b D St Clair*6
K Carty c &b I Khan*25
D Thomas c K Hope b I Khan*11
A Saunders c J Mohammed b S Gabriel*41
J Hamilton lbw b S Gabriel*0
R Cornwall c A Jangoo b S Gabriel*65
T Warde c J Da Silva b Y Cariah*26
J Louis not out*51
A Joseph c J Da Silva b D St Clair*12
S Berridge b D St Clair*4
EXTRAS (B10, LB15, W1)*26
TOTAL: (all out)*425
BOWLING: Gabriel 21-8-54-3, St Clair 19.4-4-61-3, Charles 26-3-93-1, Khan 48-7-146-2, Cariah 12-1-46-1
Fall of Wickets: 17, 61, 111, 168, 168, 269, 339, 379, 403, 425
Red Force 1st inns
K Hope c J Hamilton b J Louis*3
J Solozano not out*78
A Jangoo b R Cornwall*21
J Mohammed c D Thomas b R Cornwall*6
D Ramdin c A Saunders b J Louis*31
D St Clair not out*0
Still To Bat: I Khan, J Da Silva, S Gabriel, Y Cariah, B Charles
EXTRAS: (B5, LB2, NB3)*10
TOTAL: (four wickets)*149
BOWLING: Joseph 10-3-42-0, Louis 10-3-31-2, Cornwall 21-9-36-2, Berridge 5-1-19-0, Warde 6-1-14-0
Fall of Wickets: 11, 76, 95, 148,