Sports

Dowrich rates unbeaten 90 highly

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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FLORENCE HALL, Trelawny — Wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich rates his innings of 90 not out against England Lions yesterday as one of the best of his first-class career given the dire strait West Indies “A” were in when entered the middle, and also the tough batting conditions.

The unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership of 118 runs between him and Jomel Warrican lifted the hosts to 232-8 at the end of the second day of the four-day “Test” at Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium in reply to the Lions' 252 all out.

While Warrican mixed stubborn defence with a few hefty attacking blows to counter the English bowlers, Dowrich was composure personified. He was compact against all comers, but any error in line or length was met with a ruthless, yet artistic flash of the 26-year-old's blade.

“I think I rate it pretty highly — I've played other knocks that are crucial as well, but I like this one because conditions were against me and the situation was against me as well,” Dowrich, in his 81st first-class game, told the Jamaica Observer during an interview at close of play.

Yesterday, the spinners, who had the advantage of a wicket that offered turn and invariable bounce, were mostly in the firing line.

The Barbadian was tempered in his approach early in his innings after taking the crease at 54-4. Later, he was more expressive as he grew in confidence.

A nonchalant flick for four through wide mid-on off the left-arm finger spinner Jack Leach and an effortless front-foot push to the straight boundary off the much-heralded wrist-spinner Mason Crane were among the gems.

However, the West Indies Test wicketkeeper, chasing his fifth first-class hundred, said it was hard going early in the innings.

“It was a crucial knock with the situation we were in with wickets down and not many runs on the board. My first target was to get the follow-on [target] so we didn't have to bat again.

“It was a difficult surface, obviously spinning a lot, and it is a bit inconsistent in terms of bounce and stuff. But I think once you play yourself in, it's not that bad to bat on.

“I'd love to get a hundred, but tomorrow is another day and I've got to come back and start over. The second new ball is available [in three overs] so that's another challenge I've got to look to,” he said.

Dowrich said the familiarity with Warrican, whom he attended secondary school with in Barbados, helped the backs-to-the-wall stand.

“It was a beautiful partnership with Warrican, where he showed the enthusiasm to bat and it worked well for us. We played a lot of cricket together coming up in school, so we have good chemistry, and I was just trying to guide him through. He can bat and he can defend his stumps, and obviously it worked for us today,” Dowrich explained.

The Englishmen were led by Leach, who snared three wickets, and pacer James Porter, who grabbed two.

Porter, who took the vital wickets of Jermaine Blackwood and Kieran Powell, said West Indies “A” deserve credit for the fightback, but added he is looking forward to getting the new ball.

“The two guys not out — Dowrich and Warrican — they played pretty well, and I give some credit to them. As that ball gets softer it gets a little bit tougher to bowl and a lot less happens, so we just got to be patient.

“It was a tough day, and for some of us it was a first proper day out in the field, but no excuses, I don't think we were particularly tired, I just think it got a lot tougher as the day went on, and they played well and unfortunately we couldn't finish it off.

“Very keen to get that second new ball in my hand, hopefully [to] wrap it up and maintain some sort a lead,” Porter said.

— Sanjay Myers

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