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Tight battle for first-innings honours

Published:Thursday | March 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer

It's a close affair heading into today's second day of the ISSA/Grace Shield Premier League final between reigning five-time champions, Eltham High, and last year's beaten finalists, Innswood High, at Melbourne Oval.

Winning the toss and deciding to bat, Innswood posted their lowest total of the season, 198, and Eltham, in reply, after being 58-4 at one stage, were 116-6 when stumps were drawn.

In a game in which first innings could decide the champions, Eltham need another 83 runs with four wickets in hand, a task captain Keino-Paul Sailsman believes is achievable.

"When we bowled we did excellently as it was for the first time this season that Innswood were getting bowled out for under 200 runs. So we were very pleased," said Sailsman.

"In the batting, however, we started off shakily with a run-out and the loss of a few quick wickets, but in the end we kind of came back.

"But we believe we can do it as the rest of the batsmen to come have been there and done that before and we know that we can pull it off," he added.

Penetrative bowling

The close position of the game was first set up by a well-played 50 from in-form Innswood batsman, Kemar Foster, 38 from all-rounder Peat Salmon, and 20 from wicketkeeper-batsman Terrence Brown.

The trio batted fairly well amid some penetrative bowling from all-rounders Sailsman and Joseph Dennie, who claimed 7-73 and 2-75, respectively.

Dennie then posted 57, Jevaughn Ennis 20 not out, and Sailsman 11, as after losing their first two wickets with only four runs on the board, Eltham recovered to put themselves into a fighting position. Off-spinner Peat Salmon has so far pocketed 2-27.

"It's not the best position to be in at the moment, but based on the circumstances we are satisfied with the day's play," said Innswood coach, Kirk Gordon.

"It was a game where Innswood did not play their A game as we have been playing all season. We batted below expectations and when we fielded, we dropped some catches. But our bowlers came back and we are hopeful heading into tomorrow," Gordon added.