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Despite missing out on centuries, both Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner say they are pleased with Jamaica’s positive start to the Headley/Weekes Trophy final against Windward Islands on Saturday.
Asked to bat first, the Jamaicans produced a solid effort to finish the day on 232 for three, thanks to Blackwood who stroked 94 and Bonner who made 88.
Following the early loss of John Campbell for two, they posted a record 180 for the second wicket to haul Jamaica back into the contest at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
“I think it was a reasonably good innings. Getting a start was foremost and having done that I should have got a hundred but that’s the nature of cricket. The team is in a very good position and I am happy for that,” said Bonner, who hit 11 fours from 205 balls in 4-½ hours at the crease.
“Over the years the Jamaica team have been struggling with our batting. I tried to fix the problem [today] by batting more balls and batting more patiently and so far so good. Once we have the runs on the board, the bowlers always come and do the job so that’s it what we are trying to do.”
Blackwood, meanwhile, also put his head down after coming to the crease at the fall of Campbell’s wicket. He struck seven fours and one six from 207 balls in four hours, to strengthen Jamaica.
“When I went out there, I knew I had set my plan from when I was leaving Barbados [after the semi-final]. In the first hour I wanted 20 runs and in the other hour, I wanted another 20 runs so I was looking at like 40 in the session and every session I did that so that was pretty pleasing,” said Blackwood.
“I’m pleased within the context of the game, with how I played today because I fought through the whole day but to get out an hour or two before the end of the day, was really hurtful inside but I was pleased with the way I batted.”
Blackwood said mention had been made in the pre-game team meetings about the younger batsmen carrying on to get big scores.
And while both he and Bonner missed out on centuries, Blackwood said Andre McCarthy, who was unbeaten on 29 at the close, had the chance to make amends.
“We always talk about it [in team meetings]. The younger players from in the season have been getting starts but we don’t really carry on so it’s not anything about form – we are in form but we just don’t carry on,” he explained.
“From the last couple games we started to get some half-centuries but I think still one of the younger guys need to get a hundred in this game. Right now McCarthy is out there batting with the skipper (Tamar Lambert) and if he bats through tomorrow he’ll make the hundred.”
Bonner, who has played two Twenty20 Internationals for West Indies, said Jamaica needed to press home their advantage on Sunday’s second day, as there was still a big task ahead of them.
“Unfortunately Blacko (Blackwood) didn’t get a hundred … but we still have a lot more to do. It’s not a flat wicket but it is a wicket that you can dig in on so if we score 450 we will give ourselves a chance to win this final,” Bonner noted.
“I think it is an even wicket. You will get out what you put in. Something is in there for the bowlers and something’s in there for the batsmen and whoever is more patient on the day will reap more success.”