Tame draw at Sabina Park
Off-spinner Jamie Merchant marked his return to the national programme with a five-wicket haul yesterday at Sabina Park, however, it was not enough help Jamaica XI pull off a come-from-behind win over England Lions in their drawn three-day match.
Merchant who has five first-class matches under his belt but has been overlooked by national selectors since 2014, claimed five for 35 off 10.4 overs to help bowl out England for 230 in their second innings.
Jamaica, set a victory target of 258 off 52 overs late on the final day, then closed on 131 for four when play was called off shortly after 5 p.m.
The Englishmen in their first innings had posted 268 for eight declared with Jamaica replying with 236.
''The mindset was to try to restrict them to as meagre a total as possible, and see if we could get the runs. But unfortunately, they got off to a flyer, we really didn't bowl well enough,'' expressed Jamaica captain, Paul Palmer.
''They gave us a total of just over 250 runs to get in the last session and with bowlers of their standard and with no fielding limitations we just decided to play for a draw and we did that well enough.''
Resuming on 80 for three and looking to up the tempo in a bid to put Jamaica under pressure, England were led to their total by middle-order batsman Joe Clarke, who scored 87 before he was last man out.
Entering the crease as their number five batsman, he anchored several middle and lower order partnerships, that kept the Jamaican bowlers at bay.
Ben Foakes, batting at number six, was the next best scorer with 37, while David Lawrence got 35.
In-form fast bowler Reynard Leveridge, two for 38 off 12 overs, and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs, two for 39 off 15, provided Merchant with most support.
Facing an improbable target, Jamaica, after losing openers Trevon Griffith and Kennar Lewis for 20 and 19, respectively then settled for the result with firs innings century maker, wicketkeeper Aldaine Thomas, ending on 24 not out, and Palmer, 21 not out.
''I think it is a fair result given that we have a lot of inexperienced guys in this group. I thought we managed ourselves well,'' said Palmer.
''Hats off to Aldaine Thomas, he played well in this game. Jamie Merchant was excellent, and all in all their performances augur well for Jamaica's cricket
Meanwhile, England captain Keaton Jennings, also expressed pleasure with the result, noting that it was ideal preparation ahead of their first unofficial Test at Trelawny Stadium, starting on Sunday.
''If it was the second or third game of the tour, you would have liked to win it. But I think from our point of view we got through spells, a good quality workload, and the guys are in a good place moving into the first Test,'' Jennings said.