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Morton key as Barbados rally strongly

Published:Monday | January 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Anthony Foster, Gleaner Writer

The Leeard Islands' Runako Morton (centre) makes a defensive push, while Barbados' wicketkeeper Patrick Browne (left) and his teammate react, during their West Indies Cricket Board Regional Four-day Championship cricket match at Kensington Park yesterday. Morton was unbeaten on 78 - Ian Allen/Photographer

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Four-day Championship opening-round cricket match between Barbados and Leeward Islands is evenly poised, entering today's final day at Kensington Park.

However, the turning point could yet come from Runako Morton, who is set to resume on 78 - more than one-third of his team's second innings total of 186 for six - this after rain stopped play for the final time yesterday.

The Leewards, on yesterday's penultimate day, started their second innings on 20 without loss, having been dismissed for 236 in the first. They narrowly won first-innings points after dismissing Barbados for 229.

Pedro Collins struck in the first 10 minutes for Barbados, when he bowled Kieron Powell for 12 at 24 for one.

Morton joined Montcin Hodge and the two added a very important 114 runs for the second wicket, as they frustrated Barbados with patient batting.

Hodge, who batted for over three-and-a-half hours and hit three fours, edged Collins behind for 55.

Middle-order collapse

The wicket triggered a middle-order collapse as after Collins picked up his third wicket - having Tonito Willett caught behind for seven - Ryan Hinds picked up three quick wickets, removing Steve Liburd (7), Omari Banks (3) and Devon Thomas (0) as the Leewards lost five wickets for 43 runs.

Morton batted for over four-and-a-half hours, hitting eight fours off 254 deliveries

John Archibald, Leewards' coach, said he would feel better if his team had only lost four wickets.

"I thought the rest of the guys could have taken a page out of Morton's book and just apply themselves a little bit better. But at the end of the day we are still in a fairly decent position," he said.

"It's very important that we get a good partnership (today) so we can dictate the game," he added.

Barbados' coach, Emerson Trotman, believes the game is wide open.

"It's still open," he said. "Both teams have had their ups and downs."

Concerning his bowlers, he added: "What Barbados did was to stick their task; we stuck to the plan. They were very patient and they put us back right into this game when the Leewards were threatening to take it away from us."

LEEWARDS 1st Innings 236 (D Thomas 39; K Stoute 3-21)

BARBADOS 1st Innings 229 (K Edwards 60, D Richards 60; A Martin 3-38)

LEEWARDS 2nd Innings (overnight 20 without loss)

K Powell b Collins 12
M Hodge c wkp Browne b Collins 55
R Morton not out 78
T Willett c wkp Browne b Collins 7
S Liburd lbw b Hinds 7
O Banks b Hinds 3
+D Thomas b Hinds 0
J Athanaze not out 4
Extras: (b4, lb9, nb7) 20
TOTAL: (for six wickets - 96.2 overs) 186

Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-138, 3-164, 4-173, 5-179, 6-181

Bowling: Collins 19-4-35-3; Roach 12-2-22-0; Hinds 30-8-42-3; Stoute 17.2-9-23-0; Charles 16-5-41-0; Brooks 2-0-10-0

Position: Leewards lead overall by 193 runs with four second-innings wickets standing

Toss: Leewards.

Umpires: L Thompson, V Johnson.