Opening batsman Jeremy Solozano led a T&T Red Force fightback against the Leewards Hurricanes in their third round clash on day two of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Four-day championships at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba, San Fernando, yesterday.
Responding to the visitors' massive score of 425 all out of which Montcin Hodge scored 158, the Red Force closed the day on 149 for four with Solozano unbeaten on 78.
With T&T facing an uphill battle to get to the Leewards first innings score, lost the early wicket of Barbadian import Kyle Hope. The right-hander was static at the crease and edged the impressive Jeremiah Louis to wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton.
Amir Jangoo joined Solozano and saw the southpaw reel off consecutive boundaries signalling his intent. The Arima resident who has been in the pink of form this season batted well and took control of the bowling. The Saturday afternoon crowd at ground lapped up the entertainment with glee, as they had not seen this kind of classic strokeplay for quite a while from the Red Force outfit.
Solozano who made a century in the opening match against the Windwards was pleasing to the eye and after adding 65 runs for the second wicket with Jangoo, who fell to Cornwall for 21. Soon after the burly off-spinner had the scalp of the out of sorts Jason Mohammed for six and at 95 for three and the home team was under serious pressure.
Skipper Denesh Ramdin came in and he changed the momentum of the game by turning over the strike. He gave Cornwall something to think about by not allowing him to bowl to one batsman at a time.
Just as Ramdin and Solozano looked as if they would take Red Force to safety at the close, the former fell to the bowling of Louis for 31.
At the close Red Force was 149/4 and when play resumes today at 10am, the host will need another 276 runs to reach the Leewards first innings total. Solozano ended on 78 not out off 166 balls with 16 fours.
Leewards resumed on the bedtime position of 291/6 and continued to pile on the runs against a lacklustre T&T bowling attack. Montcin Hodge continued where he left off from day one and signalled his attention immediately to swell his total and that of his team with a backfoot drive through square cover for four off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
He and Terrence Ward continued batting positively in tandem. The six hours he batted on day one would have given him confidence and it showed how prepared he was for the task ahead. Hodge reached his 150 during a 70-run partnership with Ward for the seventh wicket.
The bowler who brought the first cheer for T&T was the leg-spinner Yannic Carriah, who breached the defence of Ward having him caught behind for 26. After that dismissal, more pressure for the Red Force as Jeremiah Louis continued to show his all-around prowess with a valuable 51 off 62 balls with six fours and a six. Red Force pacers Shannon Gabriel 3/55 and Daniel St. Clair 3/61 were the picks of the local bowlers.