The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) have the advantage over Melbourne CC after claiming first-innings honours on day one of the two-day Jamaica Cricket Association Senior Cup final at Sabina Park yesterday.
Electing to bat first, Melbourne were blown away for 103 in their first innings on the back of a five-wicket haul from part-time spinner Joseph Palmer and three wickets from sidelined West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell.
Piloted by half-centuries from Rasheed Outar and Sean Bennett, the army men then closed on 210 for six for an overall lead of 107.
Melbourne, who are seeking back-to-back titles, started the contest brightly and were in control at 61 for one before off-spinner Palmer along with Cottrell and West Indies 'A' seamer Reynard Leveridge engineered a collapse.
Palmer, bowling with flight and subtle variations, ended with five for 23, Cottrell, three for 27, while Leveridge, who is recovering from a groin injury but who bowled with controlled aggression, claimed two for 21.
Top-order batsman Steven Taylor of the United States and Guyanese Trevon Griffiths, who put on 60 for the second wicket, led the way for Melbourne with the bat.
Taylor scored 31 while Griffith hit 29. The other Melbourne batsman to get into double figures was Damion Jacobs, who finished unbeaten on 16.
The JDF, in reply, got off to the worst possible start when their lead batsman, Jamaica Scorpions one-day opener Jermaine Harrison, was caught behind off young fast bowler Ricardo McKenzie for zero off the first ball of the innings.
However, thanks to a 96-run second-wicket partnership between former national youth batsman Outar, who stroked a patient 58, and 31 from opener Palmer, the soldiers staged a recovery.
Captain Nikita Miller, three for 55, and Damion Jacobs, two for 51, are the leading wicket-takers thus far.
Bennett, 63 not out, and wicketkeeper Rohan Chong, 18, will resume batting today at 10 a.m.