Kensington Oval has long ceased to be a fortress for the West Indies and Barbados teams.
And today the Windward Islands’ bombardment demolished more of the rampart as Barbados’ egregious eleven succumbed to a three-day 216-runs defeat that carried an air of inevitability the moment they were dismissed for a humiliating 64 in the first innings of their WICB Regional Four-Day encounter.
Chasing a remote winning total of 422 after the Windward Islands declared at 311 for 4 after 87 overs, Barbados were dismissed for 205 in the 81st over with only West Indies opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite showing the stomach for the fight with a diligent unbeaten 91. Wrecker-in-chief was West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford, fresh from mesmerising Zimbabwe in the Test series, with figures of eight for 82.
The Windward Islands started the day on 252 for the loss of two wickets with West Indies discard Devon Smith on 123. He extended that score to an unbeaten 150 after 329 minutes of batting, having faced 267 balls and struck 21 fours.
The other overnight batsman Andre Fletcher was caught at slip by Ashley Nurse off left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn for 23, having started the day on seven while Shillingford was caught at the wicket by Shane Dowrich off medium-pacer Jonathan Carter for nought in the 84th over with the score on 292 for 4. The visitors would bat a further four overs before declaring their innings.
Barbados began soundly enough with Brathwaite and Rashidi Boucher moving with a few alarms to 68 by the 22nd over. However the pair mainly had to contend with the pacers and the introduction of the spinners started the hosts’ inevitable capitulation.
Boucher essayed an unnecessary lofted shot at Shillingford after marching confidently to 41 and only succeeded in reaching Gary Mathurin at deep mid-on. Without any addition to the score captain Kirk Edwards completed a match he would like to forget. Following his first innings single, he attempted an on-drive at Shillingford and Mathurin accepted his second catch of the innings. Edwards did not bother the scorers.
The highly talented debutant Shai Hope, who failed to score in the first innings, had his challenges with the spin of Shillingford. In the 38th over with the score on 90 Hope played back to the tall Dominican and was plumb leg before wicket for 11 to leave Barbados in more than a spot of bother.
Jonathan Carter, whose form has shown a dip at the wrong time, was another of Shillingford’s victims when he was caught at forward short-leg by Tyrone Theophile for five to leave Barbados stumbling at 116 for four in the 44th over. †
Brathwaite was all the while a picture of studious defence with the occasional forcing shot, mostly square of the wicket. Kevin Stoute had joined him on the fall of Carter’s wicket but attempting a pull shot at Shillingford, was leg before wicket for a duck in the 48th over with the score on 124 for 5. Before one could say “play with a straight bat” Dowrich tickled a delivery from Shillingford to Mathurin at leg slip first ball.
Brathwaite was joined by bowling all-rounder Jason Holder and the two batted assuredly taking the score to 183 with Holder dominating the 59-run partnership. Holder would fall in the 67th over when a delivery from off-spinner Liam Sebastian kept slightly low and Holder was leg before wicket on the back foot for 38 to leave Barbados slipping further toward defeat on 183 for 7. Ashley Nurse was next to go when he found the adhesive hands of Mathurin at leg slip off Shillingford for three in the 70th over. Sulieman Benn was another not to bother the scorers when he was caught at gully by, needless to say, Mathurin, to make the score 186 for 9 in the 72nd over.
The last to go was Miguel Cummins, caught at short leg by Johnson Charles off Sebastian for 5, leaving Brathwaite nine short of what would have been a richly deserved century. Brathwaite spent 281 minutes at the crease, faced 266 balls and struck 11 boundaries and one six.
Shillingford, who had match figures of 12 for 102, and Smith who had a first innings 40 to add to his second innings 150, were named jointly as the “Man-of-the-Match”. Sebastian finished with 2 for 44. Mathurin had five catches in the second innings to make it seven in the match. (WG)