That was the message England captain Tony Greig sent to the West Indies 46 years ago as Clive Lloyd’s West Indians prepared to visit English shores. In words. The West Indians won that series 3-0, Vivian Richards blasting 291 and Michael Holding taking 14 wickets in the Oval Test.
As England prepare to visit the Caribbean next month, West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite is sending a different message to Joe Root’s Englishmen. With his bat.
On Day 3 of the West Indies Championship at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, the 29-year-old Barbados Pride opener again let his bat do the talking against the Jamaica Scorpions. He added 139 runs to his overnight 137 to take his personal tally to 276, the highest score by a Barbadian against Jamaica and the seventh-highest first-class score at Kensington Oval.
Brathwaite’s innings (276 off 407, 10 x 4) was a masterpiece of patience and concentration, the additional 139 containing only six more boundaries and not a single six. And the knock lasting in all 10 hours!
Raymon Reifer, with whom Brathwaite had shared an unbroken third-wicket stand on Day 2, extended his 55 to 71 to go with the six wickets he had captured in the Jamaican innings.
And at the close of play, their side had overhauled the 328 posted by the visitors, to which his opposite number John Campbell contributed 127, reaching 521 for 8 before Brathwaite called a halt. With West Indies Test vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood unbeaten on 24, the Scorpions reduced the deficit to 137, getting to 56 for the loss of a single wicket.
Brathwaite was not the only captain to put his hand up on Day 3. Over at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Red Force skipper Imran Khan captured 4/38 with his leg-spin to send the Windward Island Volcanoes sliding to an innings and 42 runs defeat.
Starting the day following on almost 200 runs in arrears of the home side’s 326, the Volcanoes fared rather better than they had done on the previous day, getting to 186. But all in all, they really had little answer to the Red Force’s pace and spin combination, quickie Anderson Phillip’s three scalps taking his tally for the tournament so far to 12.
Only Denis Smith, who scored a defiant half-century, and Shermon Lewis (33), already a major contributor with 5/43 in the Red Force innings, offered any durable resistance.
It was the second successive defeat for the Volcanoes, who lost a nail-biter to Guyana by one wicket on the weekend.
And it was the second three-day innings defeat in the round, Guyana Harpy Eagles findingthe tables turned this week in their match against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the Queen’s Park Oval.
After their calamitous first innings 116 all out, skipper Leon Johnson might have felt that his side had the wherewithal to bounce back. They have the proven quality of Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Shimron Hetmyer as well as the in-form 33-year-old Vishaul Singh, who already had one half-century and an aggregate of 125 runs with just one round and a half of the tournament completed.
But West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph, who had been relatively quiet in the first innings with just 2/26, proved to be too much for Johnson’s much vaunted line-up. The 6’4” Antiguan quickie claimed five wickets for 94 runs with only Hemraj of the batsmen with big reputations enhancing his with a well-played 50.
Anthony Bramble was the biggest contributor for the Eagles with 58. But left-arm finger spinner Gudakesh Motie, not known for his batting, also chipped in with 49 to add to the three wickets he had claimed when the Leewards batted.
Still, the Harpy Eagles could get no further than 265, leaving them still 57 adrift of the 438 for 7 declared the Hurricanes had earlier amassed. A bitter innings defeat for the high-flying Harpy Eagles.
For the Hurricanes, Terrance Warde was the top-scorer with an unbeaten 78 while Kieran Powell made 74. The 32-year-old West Indies hopeful Devon Thomas, scorer of the tournament’s first century last week, made 72, bringing his tally in three innings to 242.
As things stand, if the defending champions Barbados can convert their advantage into victory in the only game that continues into Day 4, they are not unlikely to remain at the top of the table. But should the Scorpions find the steel to deny them a win, then it is the Red Force that will leapfrog them into the top spot for the start of Round Three in April.
The tournament now breaks to make room for the England series. And Brathwaite will feel satisfied that the message that has gone up the Atlantic will not suffer the same fate as Greig’s all those years ago.
After all, there is the recent memory of Jason Taylor wreaking havoc in the five-match T20 series. And there is Campbell and Powell and Thomas and Motie and Alzarri Joseph and Anderson Phillip and Jayden Seales and fit-again Jeremy Solozano and Reifer all shouting with one voice.
At least in Round 2.
(At Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba, Trinidad)
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: 326 (116 overs) (Joshua Da Silva 73, Yannic Cariah 72, Jeremy Solozano 66, Terrance Hinds 57; Shermon Lewis 5/43)
Windward Islands Volcanoes: 98 all out (44 overs) (Alick Athanaze 33, Devon Smith 16; Anderson Phillip 4/32, Jayden Seales 3/31, Imran Khan 2/3) & 186 (Denis Smith 65, Shermon Lewis 33, Kenneth Dember 25*; Imran Khan 4/38, Anderson Phillip 3/31)
Trinidad and Tobago beat Windwards by an innings and 42 runs
(At Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados)
Jamaica Scorpions: 328 (95.4 overs) (John Campbell 127, Paul Palmer 76, Nkrumah Bonner 49; Leroy Lugg 39; Raymon Reifer 6/23) & 56 for 1 (Jermaine Blackwood 24*)
Barbados Pride: 521 for 8 dec. (Kraigg Brathwaite 278, Raymon Reifer 71, Jonathan Carter 68, Shamarh Brooks 39; Patrick Harty 5/111)
Jamaica trail by 137 runs with nine wkts in hand
(At Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad)
Guyana Harpy Eagles: 116 all out (34.3 overs) (Anthony Bramble 38, Keemo Paul 20; Daniel Doram 3/16, Colin Archibald 3/29, Alzarri Joseph 2/26) & 265 (Anthony Bramble 58, Chandrapaul Hemraj 50, Gudakesh Motie 49; Alzarri Joseph 5/94)
Leeward Islands Hurricanes: 438 for 7 dec. (Terrance Warde 78*, Kieran Powell 74, Devon Thomas 72, Montcin Hodge 71, Jahmar Hamilton 48, Colin Archibald 38; Nial Smith 3/100, Gudakesh Motie 3/119)
Leewards beat Guyana by an innings and 57 runs
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