PCL 4-Day practice match…..Singh, Johnson hit fifties on opening day

Leon Johnson’s X1, led by half-centuries from their Captain and Vishaul Singh, batted all day on a placid Bourda track to reach 238-5 against Shimron Hetymer’s X1 when day one of the first PCL Four-Day practice match ended yesterday.

Singh, a diminutive left-hander with a single hundred from 22 First-Class games, finished the day unbeaten on 76 from 146 balls, 228 minutes with four boundaries while Johnson, who has two fifties from four Tests, reached the boundary nine times and cleared it once in an attractive 84-ball 61 from 112 minutes.

The 30-year-old Assad Fudadin, with one half-century from three Tests in addition to four First-Class hundreds, was looking determined to make a big score after surviving a four-prong pace attack.

After facing 28 balls and batting close to an hour for 12, an LBW appeal was turned down but Fudadin was then run out as he lingered out of his crease to leave Johnson’s X1 on 23-1.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul batted in similar fashion to his illustrious father whose main batting attribute is occupation of the crease. But once the younger Chanderpaul ‘saw off’ the new ball he upped the tempo somewhat.

The 19-year-old Chanderpaul, who is yet the reach 50 from nine First-Class matches, gloved a lifting delivery from Raun Johnson and slapped Jevon Searles to the backward point boundary.

He then lofted Paul Wintz back over his head for six and tucked him neatly to the mid-wicket boundary before his 81-ball 22 from 130 minutes, ended when he was bowled by Searles and from a Lunch time score of 71-1, Johnson’s X1 were 82-2.

Johnson was well into his stride and stroking the ball sweetly. He got going with a couple of well timed on-drives off his unrelated namesake Raun, for fours as Hetymer used his pacers for all but one over before Lunch when left-arm spinner Raj Nannan was introduced and was cover driven by Johnson for four.

The 28-year-old Johnson stroked Nannan pleasantly for boundaries in consecutive overs while Singh joined his GCC team mate and played in a sedate, but solid manner before Johnson, who hammered Searles to the mid-on boundary top-edged a pull and was caught and bowled by Gudakesh Motie at 114-3.

Singh and Shiv Chanderpaul took their team to tea at 164-3 with responsible batting although Chanderpaul could have tried to dominate the young bowlers a bit more.

Under blue skies and with cotton wool like clouds drifting over the Bourda sward in sunny conditions, Chanderpaul worked the ball off his legs and picked up easy singles down the ground before steering Keon Joseph for four but he took 82 balls to score 37 runs from 93 minutes with two fours.

The 27 minutes of play after Tea was as exciting as watching paint dry as Chanderpaul and Singh adopted a ‘no risk’ policy before Chanderpaul, uncharacteristically tired to clear short backward square and his pull off Steven Sankar was caught to end the 63-run fourth wicket stand.

Raymon Reifer (4) was run out at 198-5 even as Singh, one of six left-handers in the first six in the order, continued to play with plenty of common sense and a surety.

With a cooling breeze ruffling the branches of the Palm trees just beyond the Eastern boundary, Singh swiveled and pulled Motie for four before flicking Nannan to the fine-leg boundary. He then hit Sankar, who yesterday bowled one of his best spells in recent times, for an on-side four.

At the close of a day, which saw a battle of attrition and steady bowling from all the bowlers, Chris Barnwell was with Singh, unbeaten on 16.

Today is the second day and play resumed at 09:30hrs.

(taken from Kaieteur News)