Jacobs stars

Jacobs the star as West Indies A crush Sri Lanka

BY GARFIELD MYERS
Editor-at-Large, South Central Bureau

Sunday, October 15, 2017



FLORENCE HALL, Trelawny – Wrist spinner Damion Jacobs placed himself firmly in the selectors' thoughts for a senior West Indies call-up by bowling West Indies 'A' to a spectacular innings and 13-run win over Sri Lanka 'A', in the first Test at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium here yesterday.

Scores: West Indies 'A' 364-8 declared; Sri Lanka 'A' 212 and 139.

The game ended at 1:53 pm with more than three hours to spare on the last day, despite the loss of close to 100 overs over the course of the first three days because of rain and other adverse weather conditions.

The 32-year-old Jacobs grabbed 6-27 as Sri Lanka 'A', following on, collapsed from 72-0 to lose all 10 wickets for 67 runs. He ended with match figures of 8-58 to predictably win the man of the match award despite teammate Sunil Ambris's first-innings century (106) and Sri Lanka A's Dhananjaya de Silva's 104.

A latecomer to first class cricket — only making his four-day debut for Jamaica in April 2014 — Jacobs entered the game with 141 wickets at 22.17 each. His performance followed an impressive, four-wicket haul against touring Pakistan for a West Indies President's Eleven in April.

Against Sri Lanka 'A', Jacobs was consistently the best bowler, often seeming to bother opposition batsmen including the accomplished de Silva — the Sri Lanka 'A' captain and champion batsman — with his variations and good control. Jacobs will enter this week's second Test with bragging rights over de Silva, having dismissed him twice in this game.

Leeward Islands off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall provided Jacobs with solid support, ending with 3-53 and match figures of 6-122.

A worry for West Indies 'A' is that the exciting but injury-prone fast bowler Reynard Leveridge left the field in mid-morning with an apparent hamstring strain.

West Indies 'A' started the fourth morning in decisive fashion — fast bowler Keon Joseph and Cornwall taking the last three Sri Lanka 'A' first-innings wickets in three and a half overs, with just 11 runs added to their overnight 201 for seven.

It meant Sri Lanka 'A' had fallen short of the target of 215 needed to avoid being asked to follow on. All of a sudden, a game which had seemed destined for a boring draw had been thrown wide open.

Batting a second time, Sri Lanka 'A' appeared for a time to have rebounded well as the left-handed Sandun Weerakkody, who was dismissed first ball in the first innings, launched a spirited counter-attack.

The 24-year-old, who has played three One-Day Internationals for the Sri Lanka senior team and is the wicketkeeper for Sri Lanka 'A', hooked, cut, pulled and drove the fast bowlers with gusto. The introduction of Cornwall found him dancing forward to hit the off-spinner over the top.

With 72 runs on the board for Sri Lanka in super-quick time, Jacobs opened the door in his very first over. Weerakkody's opening partner Ron Chandraguptha (27) flicked the wrist spinner's leg break off the middle of the bat but Vishaul Singh, under the bat at forward short leg, held a sharp catch and West Indies 'A' were on their way.

Weerakkody followed shortly after, dancing down to attack Cornwall once too often, to loft a catch to mid-off at 95-2. The dashing left-hander had fallen for 56 with nine fours off 58 balls.

Cornwall struck again shortly after, getting Charith Asalanka (0) caught at slip off the keeper's gloves, and in the next over — the last before Lunch — Jacobs trapped Dasun Shanaka (1) LBW.

De Silva (18) and Shehan Jayasuriya (18) held off the hosts for half an hour after Lunch before de Silva, dancing forward to attack Jacobs, lofted a catch for John Campbell running back at mid-on at 116-5. And when Jayasuriya was trapped lbw by Jacobs at 129-6, the die was cast. The last four wickets fell for just 10 runs as the late order Sri Lanka 'A' batsmen showed little stomach for the fight.

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