By Sean Devers (Kaieteur News)
At 21 Kandasammy Surujnarine looks a bright prospect and yesterday at Bourda he fashioned an accomplished unbeaten century to help bat Berbice to a draw against Demerara in the opening round of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) four-day Inter-County cricket tournament.
Surujnarine faced 273 balls, batted for 358 minutes in his 132 with 12 fours and three sixes and along with Royston Crandon, whose explosive 88 lasted 99 balls and included eight fours and three sixes, added 163 for the fourth wicket to see Berbice to 304-5 by the close as off-spinner Zaheer Mohamed finished with 2-58 for Demerara.
Scores: Dem (442 & 186-5 dec), Berbice 218 & 304-5.
Berbice, needing 411 to win, resumed the final day on 33-2 in sunny conditions and night watchman fast bowler Keon Joseph, who displayed a sound technique, and Surujnarine, who looked better the longer he batted, put together 64 for the third wicket before Joseph was taken at gully off Paul Wintz, an hour and 15 minutes into the day’s play.
Joseph, who struck three well executed boundaries in his 27, batted for 83 minutes and faced 59 balls, fell at 89-3 after he was dropped at slip off leg-spinner Amir Khan on 26 at 71-2.
By Lunch Berbice had progressed to 128-3 with Surujnarine, who played an array of exhilarating shots including a disdainful six onto the roof of the GCB office off Mohamed before repeating the dose on Khan, unbeaten on 60.
Crandon, who was involved in a physical altercation with Shemroy Barrington after allegedly being cursed by the Demerara batsman, was the other not out batsman on 13.
Surujnarine continued to play with flair and confidence against an ordinary Demerara bowling, while Crandon took out his anger on the Demerara team as former West Indies ODI player launched a brutal assault on the hapless bowlers on a flat track to race to his half-century from just 45 balls aided by five fours two colossal sixes.
Barrington at slip, grassed a straight forward catch to let off Crandon off Barnwell with the score on 213-3 and with Tea and rain approaching, Crandon latched onto part-time seamer Robin Bacchus with a couple of stunning straight drives which reached the boundary like scud missiles.
A short sharp shower that sent the players scurrying off the field at 13:20hrs with Berbice on 208-3. Surujnarine was on 88 and Crandon on 64 and the visitors needed another 203 for an unlikely win.
But more importantly from a Berbice perspective, Demerara had to take seven wickets to win and Demerara’s strange decision not to enforce the follow-on with Berbice 224 behind, seemed to be working in favour of Berbice.
After an early Tea was taken, Surujnarine and Crandon continued to bat with authority and Surujnarine reached his first ton at this level after being on 99 for 12 balls. His ton came up with an imperious extra cover drive off Raj Nanan for his 12th four and his century took 193 balls and 310 minutes and also included three sixes.
Crandon was put down on 80 and again on 82 with the ball rebounding from Wintz’s hands for six before Crandon, who seemed intent on going after Mohamed, lofted one high to mid-wicket in the same over with the score on 253-4.
Foo (9) was then removed by Mohamed after he was dropped off the same bowler to leave the score on 279-5 before Anthony Bramble and the well entrenched Surujnarine batted until the game was called off with four overs left to be bowled in the final hour.
Meanwhile, Match Referee Reon King told this newspaper that the matter involving Crandon and Barrington has been reported and is being dealt with by the GCB.