Rikhi, Austin Lead Berbice to 264-7
National Under-19 batsman Dominique Rikhi and Linden Austin hit attractive half centuries to put Cellink Berbice in a commanding position on the opening day in Round One of their GCB/GTM Inter-county Under-19 match against Essequibo at the National Stadium yesterday. In sunny conditions and on a slow track, the defending champions closed on 264 for 7 with Linden Austin on 86 and Clinton Pestano 11.
Earlier Cellink Berbice opted to bat after winning the toss. They started positively with Kandasammy Surujnarine (17) and Veerapen Permaul (14) adding 36 for the first wicket, before medium pacer Mark Tyrell removed both opening batsmen, to start wild celebrations among his teammates, leaving the defending champions on 41-2.
But Essequibo’s delight was short-lived as Dominique Rikhi and Joemal La Fleur frustrated a pepped-up Essequibo attack for the next 18 overs. Rikhi, taking some time to settle down, played with fluency on both sides of the wicket and at lunch Cellink Berbice were 62-2 off 25 overs with Rikhi 20 and La Fleur 5.
After lunch La Fleur went into attack mode, smashing two boundaries in the process, but former national Under-15 left-arm spinner Anthony Adams, who bowled an inspired spell, got rid of him in the 35th over for 22, ended the third wicket partnership of 51 at 92-3.
Linden Austin then joined forces with Rikhi and kept picking up the singles and converting some of them into twos. As Rikhi posted his half ton Austin decided to launch a vicious attack on the bowlers by smashing five boundaries in his unbeaten 38 at tea, with Cellink Berbice on 162-3 in 58 overs. The right-hander Rikhi was unbeaten on 62.
Watched by a handful of spectators, the pair carried the score after the tea interval to 197 with intelligent stroke play before Rikhi was removed by left-arm spinner Herry Green ten runs short of a well deserved century. His innings of 90 lasted 177 minutes, comprising 171 deliveries and included 11 fours. Rikhi’s fourth wicket partnership with Austin yielded 105 runs.
It was soon 198 for 5 when Romario Shepherd (01) was removed by national pacer Ronsford Beaton. In the meantime, Austin registered his half-century (92 balls, 120 mins, 5x4). Kevin Ramdeen did not last long, as he was leg before to Adams for 10 at 228 for 6. Skipper Shawn Pereira (03) added 24 with Austin before he was trapped leg before to Surujpaul with Cellink Berbice on 244-7. Clinton Pestano and Austin saw off the remaining fifteen overs of the day’s play without further damage.
Mark Tyrell (2-22), Anthony Adams (2-42), Ronsford Beaton (1-77), Vijay Surujpaul (1-53) and Herry Green (1-44) were the wicket-takers.
Play on the second day today resumes at 10: 00hrs.