'Phil', Roberts save T&T


Tuesday, February 3, 1998

SKIPPER Philip Simmons and Lincoln Roberts ensured that Trinidad and Tobago were not outclassed by England in their two-day cricket game, which concluded at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, yesterday.

When the match was called off at approximately 4.25 p.m. after just two off the mandatory 15 overs, the hosts had just been dismissed for 274 in response to the 351 compiled by England the previous day.

T&T's final total was a very respectable one against the 11 players who will probably represent England in the Second Test against the West Indies at Queen's Park Oval starting on Thursday

The game was always going to likely to end in a draw. But when T&T were reduced to 92 for five 20 minutes before the luncheon interval, other possibilities may have begun to enter the visitors' head.

But one-time West Indies opener Simmons, coming in at No. 7, joined Roberts to add a crucial 115 runs and avert disaster. The pair treated the crowd to some delightful strokeplay during their partnership.

With the men who had done the early damage-fast bowlers Andy Caddick and Dean Headley-out of the attack, the last recognised batsman took full advantage of the fare offered up by back-up bowlers Angus Fraser, Robert Croft and Adam Hollioake.

But Caddick returned 15 minutes before tea and dismissed Roberts with his third ball. Simmons' undefeated 78, amassed from 149 balls with 11 fours, was the game's top score but it had to yield pride of place to Roberts' elegant 60 yesterday.

After a shaky start, the 21-year-old Tobagonian gradually grew in confidence until he was completely in charge of proceedings. From 30, the former West Indies youth player's next four scoring shots were fours. Then, after his fifth was retrieved inches from the boundary, he played a perfect cover drive for four to bring up his half-century.

Roberts celebrated the milestone by calmly depositing off-spinner Croft onto the roof of the Petrotrin Sports Club. But next over he edged Caddick into Nasser Hussain's hands at first slip.

After the two-hour partnership ended with the score on 207, Simmons, then 40, batted with the competent T&T tail-Avidesh Samaroo, Nigel Francis, Dinanath Ramnarine and Ian Bishop-until Bishop was last man out going for a third boundary off consecutive deliveries.

T&T began the day on 22 without loss and had West Indies A opener Suruj Ragoonath (15) and Dennis Rampersad (0) back in the pavilion in less than half-hour for the addition of just 17 runs.

But West Indies Under-19 player Daren Ganga and the in-form Richard Smith (22) put on a fine 51 when the bowling was at its best until they both went lbw with the score on 90.

Ganga had reached 41 with six boundaries and was looking very good when he offered an atrocious shot-and missed-at the first ball he faced from medium pacer Angus Fraser.

Next over West Indies wicketkeeper David Williams edged Headley, grandson of great West Indian batsman of the 1930's and '40s George Headley, to Hussain at second slip. But Roberts and his skipper made sure that the visitors' celebrations were short-lived.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:06