Canada nose in front in the evening
Canada held the overnight advantage, but Bermuda came out flying on day number 2. Excellent bowling and energetic fielding, coupled with a pitch that favoured the bat a little less than it did yesterday, allowed them to bowl Canada out for 228 and claim first innings points, before slumping to 78 for 5 as the Bermuda top-order crumbled in the setting evening sun.
The morning session was another balanced one, with Canada trying to cautiously add runs and Bermuda looking for wickets. The overnight partnership of Geoff Barnett and Abdool Samad started off well, adding 21 runs in the first 6 overs of the day. It looked like they would keep batting on, but a brilliant effort broke the partnership. Samad was looking to turn a Ryan Steede delivery to the leg side, and succeeded. Unfortunately for him, Chris Foggo, who was positioned at a forward square leg position, made a stunner of a catch, scooping it off the deck with his left hand while falling over.
The Canadians continued batting cautiously, with Dwayne Leverock and Stefan Kelly holding the scoring down. Trevin Bastiampillai made a start but was out for 23 when he was driving to cover off of Dwayne Leverock. Barnett fell to Leverock as well as a defensive stroke fell into Foggo’s hands at short backward square again.
The Canadian innings finally gained some momentum shortly before lunch when Arvind Kandappah entered and refused to play Leverock defensively. He stroked boundaries all around the ground, including a towering 6 that carried over the sight screen, and reached 43 off 29 balls when the lunch interval was taken. At that same time, Canada’s total was on 121 for 3, 117 runs left to get to attain a first innings lead.
Kandappah made his 50 shortly after lunch, taking only 38 balls to do so. It included 8 boundaries and a 6. However, shortly thereafter Kandappah pulled up with a back injury and retired hurt, replaced by Sunil Dhaniram who has been in great form recently, with bat and ball. He looked to keep the momentum moving as he came out swinging, but fell shortly thereafter as a Stefan Kelly ball moved in off a length and bowled him.
The losses stagnated any drive in the Canadian innings and it slowed to a crawl through much of the afternoon session. It started to pick up again with Saad bin Zafar but he was quickly removed as he played over a Dwayne Leverock delivery and was bowled. Karun Jethi came out swinging, but drove one back to Trott who clutched it and 18-year old Rustam Bhatti was bowled by Leverock as well. After Eion Katchay played around a Rodney Trott delivery, Canada were stuck on 201 for 8 at the tea break.
Ian Billcliff took his role as captain seriously, and he was the glue that held the innings together. While partners fell all around him, he batted on, alternating moments of sheer aggression with lengthy periods of serene defending as he built his innings slowly. His 50 came off of a very patient 111 balls. As he got into the tail, he increased his scoring rate, hitting several big sixes over long on, but as he raised his aggression he skied a ball to George O’Brien at deep cover and was gone for a team-high 56, leaving Canada 227 for 9, 10 runs shy of Bermuda’s total.
Arvind Kandappah returned, limping his way to the middle, but wouldn’t face a ball as Henry Osinde scooped a return to Trott who squeezed Canada’s last wicket. Canada were 228 all out, falling just 10 runs short of taking first innings points.
The leader of the Bermuda attack was Dwayne Leverock, who claimed 5 big wickets for 69 runs in his 22 overs of work. Not quite as many overs as Dhaniram yesterday, but he’ll be ecstatic with the results. Trott grabbed 3 for 47 in 15.3 overs and Kelly and Steede chipped in a wicket each, conceding 29 and 37 runs, respectively. A highlight of Bermuda’s game was, again, their wonderful fielding. There were two spectacular catches by Chris Foggo, and now missed chances. The ground fielding was also energetic, and they could very well have cut out 10 runs with their hustle.
The Canadian innings ended less than half an hour after tea, and there was time for a good start to Bermuda’s second innings. Yesterday the pitch was very flat, but during the Canadian innings today it started to show some movement off the seam and give some turn to the spinners. This continued in the early going of Bermuda’s second innings, as Canada looked to come back after conceding the first innings.
Chris Foggo and Oronde Bascombe made a much better start against Osinde and Katchay, batting intelligently and confidently. The tide turned, however, when Canada brought on the spinners. First Oronde Bascombe fed a return catch to Karun Jethi, then a Chris Foggo sweep wrapped around behind him and found Ian Billcliff at slip (not leg slip, mind you, slip). They slipped from 40 for no loss to 48 for 3 when Geoff Barnett took a beauty of a diving catch at cover, and the collapse was on.
The fourth wicket fell when James Celestine edged to the keeper Rustam Bhatti leaving Bermuda 62 for 4 after 18.3 overs. They needed a stabilizing force, and found it in their captain, Irving Romaine and youngster Rodney Trott. They saw out 9 of the remaining 10 overs of the day, guiding Bermuda to 78 runs, before the Canadian bowlers had one more surprise, as Saad bin Zafar pegged back Trott’s middle stump with a quicker ball.
Sunil Dhaniram again was the best bowler for Canada, bowling his first 4 overs without conceding a run, and taking 2 wickets in that span. He ended the day with figures of 9-5-8-2. Karun Jethi grabbed the other 2 wickets, conceding 36 runs in his 9 overs.
It’s still all to play for on the remaining days of this match. While Bermuda claimed the first innings points, Canada retook the advantage in the match with their impressive bowling in the evening. This has been four day cricket at its finest!