Canada take first day honours
Canada took the upper hand on the first day of an interesting ICC Intercontinental Cup match at King City. The match was very balanced through the first two sessions, floating back and forth between the two sides, but Canada took control in the after tea session, and will look to carry their momentum forward into the second day tomorrow.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first on a flat-looking pitch, Bermuda got off to a truly abysmal start, as the Canadian bowlers got their tails up early. Henry Osinde got the action started trapping Chris Foggo leg before wicket on just the third ball of the match. Eion Katchay, taking over the opening bowling in the absence of Umar Bhatti, out with a shoulder injury, got an early wicket as well, as Oronde Bascombe was lbw in the second over. With both openers gone for ducks, Bermuda had only scored 1 run and had 2 wickets down.
The task fell to James Celestine and Stephen Outerbridge to rebuild the innings for the visitors. They each had a close call early – Outerbridge top-edged a ball he was trying to pull that found space on the leg side, while Celestine blocked a ball late that just barely cleared the stumps on a bounce. They made the most of their opportunity, as they guided Bermuda safely to the drinks interval. Not only did they stabilize the innings, but they batted aggressively and added significantly to the total. Their 77 run partnership was only broken when Celestine was trapped lbw by Sunil Dhaniram, as he tried to play a ball through midwicket and bring up his 50.
At that point, the batting really slowed down as Dhaniram and Karun Jethi bowled tight lines and got plenty of movement off the pitch. Outerbridge was joined by Captain Irving Romaine, and they saw out the remaining overs to lunch with a lot of defence and a few flourishes of offence, such as Romaine's majestic 6 over the sight screen. At lunch, Bermuda reached 112 for 3 from 35 overs. That's not a misprint, Canada bowled their overs very quickly, and managed 35 in the first 2 hours, where 32 is the norm that is usually not met.
After lunch Canada got another good start, as Henry Osinde got the always dangerous Romaine to drive at a wide one, inducing a thick edge that Trevin Bastiampillai caught with a very good effort. He set him up with two good balls cutting into the body, then bowled the next one full and outside off. Romaine took the bait, and away he went.
Outerbridge was the glue that held together the Bermuda innings. He batted patiently and confidently, reaching his 50 at a very relaxed pace of 132 balls, in 147 minutes. He partnered well with Celestine, Romaine, and then Trott, and frustrated the Canadian bowlers throughout his innings. He showed no signs of stopping until Ian Billcliff to a spectacular catch. A Katchay delivery was seemingly dispatched over cover for another boundary, but Billcliff rose into the air, leaping to his left and seizing it with one hand.
Canada proceeded to take 3 wickets in the first hour after tea – first Rodney Trott was caught by Jethi after skying a Sunil Dhaniram delivery. Ryan Steede was next to go, feeding Dhaniram an easy caught and bowled chance. Dhaniram was also involved in the third wicket to fall in the session, with a lovely scoop and shy to run out Stefan Kelly.
After Jekon Edness edged to wicketkeeper Rustam Bhatti, Bermuda were 216 for 9, and down to their last wicket. There was a bit of a wag in the tail as Dwayne Leverock and George O'Brien had a go at the bowlers in the late going, each stroking two boundaries in their flurry of a partnership. They'd added a quick 21 runs when O'Brien was caught on the boundary by Karun Jethi and Bermuda were all out for 237 from 87.4 overs.
Dhaniram did yeoman work for Canada, bowling long spells through the morning and afternoon sessions. After resting the first over after lunch, he bowled straight through the afternoon session and the evening session from the Pavilion End – a spell of 25.4 overs on the trot! At the end of the innings he came up with sparkling figures of 34.4-11-70-4, holding down his end and building pressure, while allowing other bowlers to bowl more aggressively from the North End.
The rest of the Canadian bowlers also performed well. Henry Osinde took 2 wickets for 22 runs in 11 overs of work, before being pulled out with a hamstring injury. Eion Katchay also took 2 wickets, but was expensive, conceding 54 runs in his 14 overs. Karun Jethi took 1 wicket and was very economical, bowling 23 overs at the cost of just 54 runs. He also partnered with Dhaniram for a long, testing period in which the Bermuda scoreboard slowed considerably.
With the Bermuda innings having finished before the end of the day, Canada had to bat out 7 overs before the close of play. Geoff Barnett and Abdool Samad made a cautious, safe start to the Canadian innings. They made 14 runs without giving so much as a chance to the Bermuda fielders. Canada will look to continue with their batting tomorrow morning, while Bermuda will look to pick up early wickets to give themselves a fighting chance in this match.