GUYANA'S spinners restricted Jamaica to 196 all out on yesterday's opening day of the WICB Regional Four-day semi-final match at Sabina Park, but the defending champions eked out a late wicket to set up a keen tussle for first innings honours.
Scores: Jamaica 196 (79.2 overs); Guyana 14-1 (eight overs).
Jamaica's captain Tamar Lambert and Donovan Pagon both struck half-centuries, but the rest of the batting failed to sparkle on a Sabina Park surface that, though offering some help to the spinners, produced predictable bounce.
The trio of Veerasammy Permaul, Devendra Bishoo and Narsingh Deonarine took three wickets each as Guyana capitalised on shoddy strokeplay from some of the Jamaican batsmen.
The home team, eyeing a fifth straight hold on the four-day title, elected to bat after winning the toss and the opening pair of Brenton Parchment and Xavier Marshall looked comfortable in the early exchanges.
Tall pacers Ransford Beaton and Brandon Bess, who both got good bounce from the pitch, generally bowled too wide of the stumps in the first 20 minutes of play.
Beaton soon found a good line and he troubled Marshall with a short, in-ducking delivery that clipped the batsman's helmet.
A few balls later he bowled another short ball that the sidelined West Indies batman looked to dab behind point, but instead under-edged onto his stumps. The 26-year-old Marshall made nine and Jamaica were 32-1 at that point.
With the score on 75, Parchment (27) moved across his stumps and was trapped leg before wicket by Bishoo just before the lunch break.
Debutant Jermaine Blackwood joined the experienced Pagon after the interval and the youngster played a flurry of confident back-foot punches off both Permaul and Bishoo.
The cagey left-arm orthodox bowler Permaul, however, soon got extra bounce on a quicker delivery that was edged by Blackwood (17) through to Leon Johnson at first slip.
At the other end Pagon, batted freely and without much bother and reached his fifty with a slog sweep for six off Permaul.
The 22-year-old spinner had the last laugh, however, when Pagon was adjudged lbw after making 53 off 98 balls.
He struck four sixes and a lone boundary.
All-rounder David Bernard was dismissed by Permaul and wicketkeeper/batsman Horace Miller sent back by Bishoo as Jamaica stumbled to 155-6 at the tea interval.
Deonarine got in on the act when Nikita Miller drove his full delivery straight into the hands of Trevon Griffiths at cover.
Andrew Richardson was caught and bowled by Bishoo and Odean Brown was clean bowled by Deonarine as Jamaica stalled at 195-9.
Lambert, who batted calmly and maturely to his 27th first-class 50, was the last man dismissed when he tried to hit Deonarine out of the park, but instead succeeded in skying a catch into the deep. He made 51 from 151 balls and struck two fours.
Bowling his part-time off-spin Deonarine finished with 3-47 off 22 overs and two balls.
Permaul grabbed 3-35 off 26 overs, while Bishoo, who was not at his best, ended with figures of 3-58 off 14 overs.
With only eight overs to be bowled before the close of play, Richardson dug in short ball and gleefully looked on as the Guyanese opener Griffiths popped a catch to Marshall at short-leg.
Guyana will resume this morning at 10:00 with Chanderpaul Hemraj on three and Leon Johnson on six.