KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, CMC – Daren Ganga led a fight-back for Trinidad & Tobago, after Andre Fletcher gathered his third first-class hundred to give Windward Islands first innings points in the WICB Regional first-class championship on Sunday.
Ganga was unbeaten on 62, as T&T reached 127 for four in their second innings – for a lead of 95 – at the close on the third day of their fourth round match at the Arnos Vale Multi-Purpose Complex.
The T&T captain and his younger brother Sherwin, with a knock of 31, rescued the visitors from a wobbly 29 for three in a stand of 76 for the fourth wicket.
Delorn Johnson, the former Young West Indies fast bowler, has so far taken two wickets for 48 runs from 11 overs.
This all followed a resolute 107 from Fletcher, which anchored Windwards to 252, and a 32-run first innings lead, after they too ran into trouble.
Yannic Cariah, playing his maiden first-class match, was the most successful T&T bowler with three for 43 from 15 overs.
Sherwin Ganga, bowling his off-spin, and leg-spinner Imran Khan finished with two wickets apiece.
T&T then courted danger, when Lendl Simmons was caught at mid-on off Mervin Matthew for a duck in the first over, without a run on the board for the visitors, and Runako Morton got things moving for them before he was caught at second slip off Johnson for nine.
Ganga came to the wicket, and took over from Morton, but Guillen was also caught at mid-on off Johnson before T&T erased the deficit.
The younger Ganga joined his brother, and they carried T&T to tea on 41 for three before they emerged from the break to bat with crisp assurance.
The elder Ganga reached his 50 from 99 balls, with a cut through backward point for one of his five boundaries from 126 balls in his near three-hour innings.
Just when it appeared the two brothers would take T&T to the close, the younger Ganga was run out to epitomise the visitors’ bleak fortunes on the day.
Earlier, T&T saw Fletcher curb his natural instincts to smote just nine boundaries from 245 balls in his 250-minute stay at the crease, and give the Windwards to a crucial first innings lead.
The T&T spinner had their usual way with the Windwards batting, after the home team resumed from their overnight total of 149 for two.
Medium-fast bowler Rayad Emrit gave T&T an early scalp, when he had Keddy Lesporis caught at mid-on for a valuable 36.
But Sherwin Ganga removed Donwell Hector and Windwards captain Lyndon James – both caught at silly mid-on for three and nine respectively – to leave Windwards 177 for five.
Three more wickets – two to Cariah – fell before the Windwards reached the 200-run threshold.
Imran Khan bowled Garey Mathurin for three before Cariah held a return catch to dismiss Matthew for two, and Kenroy Peters for a duck.
But T&T could find no way through Fletcher and Keron Cottoy until they had safely cleared the target for the lead with a vital stand of 37 for the ninth wicket either side of the lunch interval.
Windwards are fifth in the Championship on 19 points, following a tense, four-wicket victory over Guyana in the previous round at the same venue.
The visitors are fourth in the competition, just two points ahead of their opponents, after they conceded first innings points in their drawn previous match against the England Lions on home soil at Queen’s Park Oval.
T&T’s previous loss against Windwards came five years ago, when they surrendered by 86 runs at Shaw Park in Tobago.
Since then, the visitors have won five of their last six encounters, and collected first innings points in the drawn other match, which coincidentally took place at this same venue.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 1st Innings 220
WINDWARD ISLANDS 1st Innings (overnight 149 for two)
T. Theophile c Morton b Khan 46
J. Charles c Morton b Gabriel 17
A. Fletcher c Guillen b Cariah 107
K. Lesporis c *D. Ganga b Emrit 36
D. Hector c Guillen b S. Ganga 3
*+L. James c Guillen b S. Ganga 9
G. Mathurin b Khan 3
M. Matthew c and b Cariah 2
K. Peters c Simmons b Cariah 0
K. Cottoy run out 10
D. Johnson not out 9
Extras (b4, nb6) 10
TOTAL (all out, 87.5 overs) 252
Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-78, 3-160, 4-163, 5-177, 6-182, 7-199, 8-199, 9-236
Bowling: Gabriel 13-1-45-1, Emrit 13-1-46-1, Khan 21-4-57-2, Jaggernauth 9.5-0-32-0, Cariah 15-1-43-3, S. Ganga 16-7-25-2
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 2nd Innings
L. Simmons c Mathurin b Matthew 0
J. Guillen c Mathurin b Johnson 9
R. Morton c Fletcher b Johnson 9
*D. Ganga not out 62
S. Ganga run out 31
+D. Ramdin not out 14
Extras (lb1, w1) 2
TOTAL (4 wkts, 49 overs) 127
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-9, 3-29, 4-105
Bowling: Matthew 9-4-15-1, Johnson 11-0-48-2, Peters 6-2-8-0, Mathurin 14-5-26-0, Cottoy 9-2-29-0
Position: T&T lead by 95 runs with six second innings wickets standing
Umpires: G. Greaves, R. Illingworth (England)
Matchreferee: S. Allen