KIERAN Powell became the first player to score a First Class century at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex, lashing 139 to steer Leeward Islands Hurricanes into a solid position at the close of day one against TT Red Force, in their third round match of the West Indies Championships, on Wednesday.
Left-handed opener Powell batted confidently for most of the day and, with support from his teammates, helped Hurricanes to 308/7 in their first innings at stumps.
Red Force fought back with four wickets in the final session, but Hurricanes have the advantage heading into day two, as Powell got support from fellow left-hander Amir Jangoo, who made 58.
Speaking about his innings, Powell said, “(It feels) very good. That’s what batters play for. Still disappointed though (because) I think I missed out on some runs on that pitch, but happy that I got a start with the resumption of the season and hopefully I could take it forward.”
Red Force were forced to make changes at the last minute as captain Imran Khan and opener Keagan Simmons tested positive for covid19. Tion Webster, who was not in the 15-man squad named last week, found himself in the starting XI.
The fans, approximately 150 of them, could not ask for a better day as, after a period of rain over the last week, the sun was out in all its glory.
After West Indies fast bowler Jayden Seales removed Montcin Hodge for duck, Powell and Keacy Carty put on 64 runs for the second wicket.
Carty, who will be heading to Netherlands and Pakistan with West Indies on his debut One Day International tour next week, struck a fluent 31 off 42 balls before off-spinner Bryan Charles got the breakthrough to leave Hurricanes on 66/2.
Powell was unfazed at the other end and brought up his 50 before lunch.
At lunch, Hurricanes had the edge getting to 98/2 with Powell 51 not out and Devon Thomas unbeaten on 12.
Red Force made a perfect start to the second session as West Indies left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein grabbed a wicket off his second ball in the match when he bowled Thomas for 12.
With the score 98/3, Red Force were now back in the contest.
Following the fall of Thomas, Red Force kept the match fairly tight with Hosein and Seales bowling in tandem.
Fast bowler Anderson Phillip and Charles also stopped the flow of runs, but the Trinidad-born Jangoo played an exquisite cover drive off Phillip that was worth a second look.
Powell continued to look the part hitting a four down to fine leg off Charles to move into the 70s.
He quickly moved into the 80s when he chipped down the wicket and hit a straight six as Hurricanes were now cruising on 163/3.
Leg spinner Yannic Cariah was treated with disdain by Jangoo in one over as the left-handed batsmen struck two fours.
The first was a cover drive and the other he cut to backward point.
Jangoo brought up his 50 with another well-timed shot for four leaning into an on drive off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
At tea, Hurricanes progressed to 187/3 with Powell 84 and Jangoo 55 as the partnership at that stage was already worth 89 runs.
Red Force, again, made another positive start to a session of play as Jangoo was bowled by off-spinner Jason Mohammed playing forward to break the 100-run stand and leave Hurricanes 198/4.
Jangoo struck eight fours in his innings of 58 off 103 balls.
Powell, now in the 90s, hit a four through covers off Mohammed to get to 99. He did not stay on 99 for long as he struck another four to get his century, the milestone coming off 150 balls and included 15 fours and one six.
Every time Red Force bounced back Hurricanes had an answer as Powell found an able partner in Terance Warde.
The pair added 74 runs, before Cariah trapped Powell on the back foot leg before. Powell slammed 17 fours and two sixes in his knock of 139 off 210 deliveries.
Red Force grabbed another wicket as Warde was caught at mid-wicket for 26 by Gabriel to give Seales the scalp, before Rahkeem Cornwall was out leg before to Gabriel for five. It was a decision Cornwall was disappointed about as he showed his frustration.
Seales was the best bowler with 2/35 in 13 overs.
Powell was satisfied with the Hurricanes batting effort, saying, “We always aim to get at least 300 in the first innings, but I think we are probably two wickets too many down at the moment (considering) the position we were in.”
TT RED FORCE vs LEEWARDS HURRICANES
Hurricanes 1st inns
M Hodge c Charles b Seales*0
K Powell LBW b Cariah*139
K Carty c Bravo b Charles*31
D Thomas b Hosein*12
A Jangoo b Mohammed*58
T Warde c Gabriel b Seales*26
R Cornwall LBW b Gabriel*5
J Louis not out*16
H Walsh Jnr not out*8
EXTRAS (B4, LB6, W2, NB1)*13
Total for seven wickets*308
Still to Bat: C Archibald, S Berridge.
Fall of Wkts: 2; 66; 98; 198; 272; 276; 292.
BOWLING: Gabriel 11-2-51-1; Seales 13-4-35-2; Phillip 9-2-34-0; Charles 22-4-78-1; Hosein 18-3-50-1; Cariah 9-0-26-1; Mohammed 7-1-24-1.