EXPERIENCED middle-order batsman Jason Mohammed was unbeaten on 89, while openers Kyle Hope and Jeremy Solozano both struck half-centuries, as the TT Red Force blunted an under-manned Jamaica Scorpions bowling attack on the opening day of their rescheduled West Indies Four Day Championship match, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba yesterday.
At the close of play, the Red Force registered a score of 338 runs for the loss of five wickets, with Khary Pierre not out on 26.
The Red Force, who decided to bat first after winning the toss, got useful contributions from Hope (64), Solozano (63), captain Denesh Ramdin (41) and Lendl Simmons (30).
Fast bowler Nicholson Gordon, one of only three specialist bowlers in the Scorpions’ starting XI, claimed four wickets for 49 runs and part-time leg-spinner Nkrumah Bonner had 1/42.
In the absence of veteran left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, who retired from first-class cricket last weekend, it was left to Gordon, pacer Jermaine Levy and off-spinner Akim Frazer to carry the Scorpions’ attack.
Hope, who was back in the team after suffering a chest injury during a training session in January, continued his fine form from the domestic circuit, as he dominated an opening stand of 127 with Solozano. But his 96-ball knock, which included ten fours, ended when he shuffled across the crease and was trapped in front by Gordon.
Joshua Da Silva (four), who moved down the order to number three, miscued a cut shot and was taken by Brandon King at gully, while Solozano (130 balls, 11 fours) was magnificently held, two-handed to his left by Jermaine Blackwood at second slip, to hand Gordon his third wicket.
Simmons sparkled briefly before he cut Bonner’s first delivery onto his stumps, and Ramdin fended a lifting ball from Gordon to wicket-keeper Kennar Lewis.
But Mohammed (149 balls, seven fours and three sixes) featured in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 64 with Pierre, who was dropped by Frazer at long leg from an attempted hook shot off Blackwood.
Mohammed, when on 85, could have been removed via the run-out route, when he and Pierre was stranded mid-pitch, but King’s throw from cover to John Campbell at the bowler’s end was poor.
The Red Force omitted off-spinner Bryan Charles and left-arm pacer Daniel St Clair from their 13-man squad, while the Scorpions left out pacer Derval Green and all-rounder Dennis Bulli from their travelling unit.