ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Guyana Jaguars captain Leon Johnson gathered his fifth first-class hundred to give his side a firm foundation in their top-of-the-table, Digicel 4-Day Championship match against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force on Thursday.
The Test left-hander also shared a record second-wicket stand with fellow left-hander, opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of former Windies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, that gave the Jaguars the early ascendancy in their day/night, key fourth-round match at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground.
In the other two matches: batsmen flourished, as a handful reached half-centuries, but unlike Johnson, none carried on to a hundred, as Jamaica Scorpions and Barbados Pride made strong starts against Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Windward Islands Volcanoes at Warner Park and Arnos Vale Sports Complex respectively.
Johnson batted resolutely for close to five hours for an undefeated 106 that was the rock upon which the Jaguars built, after they decided to bat.
He struck hit 11 fours from 218 balls and put on 174 with the younger Chanderpaul, establishing a new Jaguars second-wicket record against Red Force in the modern era of the West Indies first-class championship (1966 onwards).
They coincidentally, eclipsed the previous mark of 165 shared between two former West Indies star left-handers, the late Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kallicharran, 45 years ago at Queen’s Park Oval.
Chanderpaul fell for 84 in the final hour of play, but Test left-hander Vishaul Singh came to the crease and stayed with Johnson until the close during which time the Jaguars captain reached his landmark from 201 balls.
Red Force, whose bowling unit was boosted with the return of Test left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, got little assistance from the pitch and the pink-ball failed to play tricks on the Jaguars batsmen.