West Indies Championships…
By Sean Devers
A magnificent unbeaten 142 from Guyana Harpy Eagles captain, Leon Johnson, led his team to 268-9 against Jamaica Scorpions at stumps on the opening day of the fourth round of the West Indies four-day Championships at the Guyana National stadium,Providence, yesterday
The 35-year-old Johnson, who is set to retire at the end of this season, made an accomplished unbeaten 142,, his seventh in first-class Cricket in 126th game and his first since his unbeaten 189 in February 2020 against the Windwards.
His innings has so far lasted 335 minutes from 248 balls and was decorated with 16 boundaries. The left-hander shared in a fifth wicket stand of 126 with Tevin Imlach who returned to form after an ordinary season, with a carefully constructed 46 from 105 balls and 157 minutes with 10 fours.
Rookie Kevlon Anderson contributed 36 from 66 balls and 110 minutes with five fours as Marquino Mindley, Ojay Shields and Darel Green picked up two wickets each for the team from Reggae Country.
On a freshly cut outfield and a track with a tinge of green, Jamaica invited Guyana to bat in sunny conditions and once again the inconsistency of the top order was exposed with fast bowler Mindley striking a couple of early telling blows.
The tall Jamaican, generating good pace with lateral movement, ripped out the stumps of returning Test batter, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, before he had scored with the score on 1-1.
Mindley soon produced one that moved away from the left-handed Matthew Nandu (1) which he edged to the Keeper at 4-2 while Kemol Savory, who scored his maiden ton in the last match, was lbw to Ojay Shields for one at 26-3.
Kevlon Anderson, who favoured the cut, used the shot to hit pacer Shields for a couple of boundaries in the same over but seemed a bit uncomfortable to balls that ‘nipped back’ into him.
Johnson, in his penultimate first-class match and with back-to- back fifties against the Red Force in Trinidad, got his rhythm going with a neat flick for four off Shields while Anderson, in his second match at this level played some lovely cover drives before edging Green to Blackwood at second slip on the stroke of Lunch with Guyana on 55-4 and Johnson on 15.
After the interval, Imlach, who scored the second most runs for Guyana after Chanderpaul last season, joined his captain and the pair staged a recovery.
Johnson cut Blackwood for his seventh boundary to reach his third consecutive 50 from 111 balls with seven four while Imlach swivelled and pulled Abhijai Mansingh for four to take their team to Tea at 55-4.
After the break, Imlach was LBW to Green at 181-5 as the scorpions, whose sting has been neutralised by the fifth wicket pair’s century stand, finally struck at 181-5 before Kevin Sinclair (10) edged a catch to the ‘keeper’ to give Shields his second wicket with the score 199-6.
Veerasammy Permaul was bowled by Mansingh for a duck at 206-7 and Johnson, who began as at this level as a 16-year-old schoolboy in 2004, was in danger of not reaching his century.
However, Gudakesh Motie (8) shared in a 23-run stand as Johnson reached his ton with a pull off Mansingh from 203 balls with 10 fours before Motie was caught behind off Gordon at 223-8.
Johnson found a useful ally in Ronsford Beaton as the very positive Johnson unleashed a majestic straight drive off Gordon before hammering Green for four as he galloped to eight short of 150.
Beaton (1) was LBW to Blackwood, bowling medium pace, off the last ball of the day and when play resumes today at 10:00hrs, Johnson will be hoping that Nial Smith can stay with him while he (Johnson) tries to eclipse his highest first class score of 189 not out.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul b Mindley 1
Matthew Nandu c Wkr Thomas b Mindley 0
Kevlon Anderson c Blackwood b Green 36
Kemol Savory lbw b Shields 1
Leon Johnson not out 142
Tevin Imlach c Wkp Thomas b Mindley 46
Kevin Sinclair c wkt Thomas b Shields 10
Veerasammy Permaul b Mansingh 0
Gudakesh Motie c Gilzine b Gordon 1
Ronsford Beaton lbw b Blackwood 1
To bat Nial Smith
Extras 23 (b-8, lb-7, nb-8)
FoW: 1, 4, 26, 55, 181, 199, 206, 223, 268
Mindley 14-4-34-2, Gordon 13-4-40-1,
Green 22-0-59-1, Shields 15-1-66-2,
Blackwood 7.3-2-19-1, Mansingh 22-0-59-1