It is said that when night falls the stars come out to shine and so it was as 30-year-old Guyana Jaguars Captain Leon Johnson shone brightly at the Brian Lara Academy with a career best 165 and shared in a century partnership on the second day of their fourth round four-day CWI Digicel Day/Night Championships against T&T’s Red Force last night, Friday 17th November, 2017.
The left-handed Johnson reached the boundary 18 times from 360 balls, and after putting on 174 for the second wicket stand with Tagenarine Chanderpaul on the first day, added 184 for the third wicket yesterday with the inform Vishaul Singh, who hit seven boundaries in his 210-ball even century as Jaguars declared on 483-8.
This was Singh’s eighth First-Class hundred, his second for the season and fourth against Trinidad, while Johnson returned to form with his magnificent knock.
Kemo Paul (32), Veerasammy Permaul (31*) and Gudakesh Motie (15*) produced important contributions to set up the declaration leaving Red Force to bat 19 overs.
Twenty-two year old off-spinner Bryan Charles took four wickets in the space of 12 runs to finish with 5-134, while Wicketkeeper Amir Jangoo took three catches for the hosts, who reached 51 without loss by the close with Kyle Hope (18) and Jangoo (32) giving their team a nice platform to build on.
Earlier, Jaguars resumed on 245-2 with Johnson on 106 and Singh on 22 and the pair batted steadily if somewhat slowly as the Red Force pacers, armed with the second new ball, bowled a ‘wide of off-stump’ line and after the first hour the Guyanese had added just 32 runs.
Johnson, the West Indies Captain in the 2006 U-19 World Cup, was dropped at slip off Charles on 114 as the Red Force wasted their only chance of separating the pair before the interval.
Singh clipped Daniel St Clair for four when he strayed into his legs as their partnership took shape in scorching heat.
With the likelihood of getting to 300 before 110 overs, Johnson late cut St Clair twice to third man for boundaries but with four runs required from one over to collect their third batting point Jason Mohammed produced a maiden despite Singh trying a reserve sweep as if it was the last over of a T20 game.
Guyana reached 300 in the next over when Johnson danced into Charles and drove him sweetly through extra cover for four and celebrated the landmark with another boundary in the over which brought up the 100 partnership. Singh reached his 12th half century from 128 balls with four fours and at the interval the Jaguars were 312-2 after scoring 67 runs in the session with Johnson on 136 and Singh on 50.
After the break Singh stroked Charles past mid-off for four, while Johnson passed his previous highest score of 144 when he smashed Charles down the ground before an exquisite cover driven boundary took Guyana’ most successful Captain to 149. Singh swept Imran Khan for a boundary as the intensity of the partnership picked up with the lights being turned on. Johnson reached 150 from 445 minutes and 334 balls with 17 boundaries when he got a single off Toni Webster before hammering Khan to the mid-wicket fence. Singh hit Khan to mid-off and scampered a single to reach his hundred from 209 balls with seven fours before he offered Amir Jangoo his third catch behind the stumps as Charles got one to turn at 390-3.
Anthony Bramble missed a sweep to Charles and was LBW for a duck without addition to the score in the same over before Johnson tried to pull a short ball and was caught at mid-wicket to leave the Jaguars on 393-5.
Shiv Chanderpaul (2) was then controversially bowled by Charles at 402-6 as the off-spinner reduced the Jaguars from 390-2 to 402-6.
At the Dinner break the Jaguars were 414-6 with the 19-year-old pair of Kemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford at the crease.
After the break with Jaguars hunting quick runs, lost Sherfane Rutherford (10) at 423-7 before Paul, who dumped Charles for a couple of sixes in a 35-ball 32 which also included two fours, provided Charles with his maiden five-wicket haul when he was taken at long-on at 445-8.
Veerasammy Permaul and Gudakesh Motie threw their bats around to add 39 in quick time before the declaration was made.