Left-handed batsman Paul Palmer scored an unbeaten century, as Jamaica battled well to play out the entire final day and earn a draw against the T&T Red Force at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando on Sunday in their Cricket West Indies Championship clash.
Starting the day on 86 for one and needing another 96 runs to make T&T bat again, the Jamaicans buoyed by an unbeaten 116 from Palmer and 77 from Jermaine Blackwood ended on 300/8 to save the game.
The Jamaicans are known for their fighting spirit and this is exactly what they showed on the final day to keep T&T at bay. When play was called with 15 overs to go, Palmer was unbeaten on 116, his second First-Class century. His knock came off 217 balls with 10 fours.
Palmer and Blackwood were the difference between a Red Force victory and a draw and they achieved the latter much to the delight of their teammates.
After just 10 minutes into the day's play, the Red Force struck as overnight batsman Assad Fudadin was run out on a direct hit from Akeal Hosein at mid-off.
This atoned a bit for a dropped chance in the second over of the day, as Kyle Hope grassed a chance offered by Blackwood off the bowling of medium-pacer Terrence Hinds. Blackwood poked at his first delivery of the day only to get the reprieve.
He admonished himself and then decided to play a very disciplined knock. He watched the spinners very carefully defending the potentially dangerous deliveries and dealing with the naughty ones.
A feature of his batting was where he got his runs and it came in the main at the front of the wicket, as he was willing to play forward on a pitch that was slow and low.
The left-handed Palmer, who got a half-century in the first essay, was strong on the leg-side and got his innings off with a brilliant on drive off Odean Smith for four. He used his long reach to good effect and the T&T bowlers seemed to have lost the plot.
When lunch was taken, the score was 159/2 - with Jamaica adding 73 runs and losing one wicket. After the break, they continued to bat as they used similar methods to what they were using for the 110 minutes before lunch.
T&T needed a spark of inspiration and it came in the form of Yannick Ottley. The left-arm orthodox spinner dived to his right to accept a return catch off Blackwood to end a partnership of 131 for the third wicket. Blackwood ended with 77 off 147 balls with seven fours.
Ottley then nabbed Alwayne Thomas for a 'duck' and it was match on. All the while, Palmer stood firm, got past his half-century and marched towards his hundred. Survival was probably most prominent on his mind and not the landmark as it was about saving his team. Tea was taken at 258 for six and rain brought an extra factor into the equation.
Soon after the break, Bravo took the new ball and Hosein didn't disappoint, grabbing the wicket of Derval Green as Red Force looked to finish off the innings.
TT Red Force vs Scorpions 460/4 dec
Jamaica inns 278 all out
Jamaica 2nd inns
J Campbell c & b Charles*28
A Fudadin run out*34
J Blackwood c & b *77
P Palmer not out*116
R Powell c Hope b Ottley*5
A Thomas lbw Hosein*0
A Williams c & b Hosein*0
D Green b Hinds*9
M Mindley c Da Silva b Charles*11
D Bulli not out*2
Total for 8 wkts*300
Fall of wkts: 41, 91, 222, 232, 233, 237, 266, 285.
Bowling: B Charles 29-5-88-2, T Hinds 11-2-34-0, A Hosein 35-6-65-3, Odean Smith 8-0-28-0, Y Ottley 15-1-51-2, Y Carriah 8-1-22-0.
Result: Match drawn.
T&T Red Force - 6.4 pts
Jamaican Scorpion - 5.4pts.