Brett Lee Bumper KO's Run-maker Chanderpaul
On the Sabina Park pitch yesterday Chanderpaul hit one of cricket's most courageous centuries, which was indicative of the West Indies' new fighting spirit as the world witnessed signs that the Calypso giant was awakening.
Chanderpaul's 118 was followed by a scary spell of new-ball bowling that put Australia (4-17) on the seat of its pants with a 136-run lead at stumps on day three. The man with the crab-like batting stance told how he could not feel his hands and feet after crumpling to the ground when struck on the back of the helmet by a Lee bumper when he had scored 86.
"I did not know where I was. My entire body went numb," Chanderpaul said. "I could not move my hands and I could not move my feet. However I told myself if I left the field we would have been in a bad state." Brain scans in hospital cleared Chanderpaul of serious injury but his courage, with his wife crying in the grandstands, set the tone for the Calypso fightback.
The West Indies, who have not won a series against a major Test nation in their past 16 attempts, enjoyed a dramatic resurgence and now believe they have the confidence to take the world champions down.
"The guys are starting to believe that, hey, we can actually do it," said coach John Dyson, a former Australian batsman. "They're enjoying their cricket more than they have for a long time, and consequently we're seeing them play some good stuff. We go out there to fight, no matter what the situation of the match."
After the West Indies were bowled out for 312, Australia's top order was reduced to rabble after hostile spells from first-innings hero Fidel Edwards and fellow opening bowler Darren Powell. Edwards put openers Phil Jaques (4) and Simon Katich (1) back in the dressing room and Powell got the key wickets of skipper Ricky Ponting (5) and Mike Hussey (1).
Both opening bowlers operated in the 140-145km/h range and the scenes late in the day, with a packed slips cordon and the Australian batsmen ducking and weaving, brought back memories of feared West Indian attacks of the 1980s. The late wicket of Hussey, who had his stumps rattled by Powell, was a particularly crucial breakthrough for the home side because Hussey is normally the glue that holds Australia's middle order together.
Lee, who snared three quick wickets for Australia earlier on day three, compared Chanderpaul's heroics to those of former Australian skipper Steve Waugh at the same Sabina Park venue in 1995.
"The West Indies are a very good side and they are going out here to try to prove a point, which is great," Lee said. In the West Indies' first innings, returning legspinner Stuart MacGill bowled waywardly to finish with figures of 2-100, but he chipped in to claim the first wicket of the third day when Runako Morton (67) holed out to a brilliant catch by Stuart Clark.