Chanders Put WI Near Win

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Shivnarine Chanderpaul collected his 14th Test hundred, and was eyeing his first victory in the post of West Indies captain after three days of the first Test against Pakistan. The 30-year-old Chanderpaul was undefeated on 153 - his first Test hundred against Pakistan - that was the backbone of West Indies' second innings total of 371.

Facing the highly improbable, if not impossible task of scoring 573 to win, Pakistan reached 113 for four when bad light stopped play with 11 overs remaining on Saturday at Kensington Oval. The Pakistanis were under severe pressure early, when they subsided to 16 for three before a near hour-long break for rain slowed down the rampaging West Indies.

On resumption, Pakistan lost Bazid Khan, but left-hander Asim Kamal, not out on 38, and the ultra-aggressive Shahid Afridi, not out on 32, got the visitors moving again in a stand of 66, unbroken, for the fifth wicket. Pakistan suffered an immediate setback when Chris Gayle acrobatically caught left-handed opener Salman Butt at second slip for a duck off the third ball of the innings from Fidel Edwards, who left the field with a hamstring strain after delivering four balls in his second over.

Two overs later, Younis Khan, leading Pakistan in place of the suspended Inzamam-ul-Haq, was run out for a duck too. A lack of communication with Yasir Hameed left them both at the batsmen's end, and Chanderpaul had a direct hit on the stump's at the bowler's end from mid-off. Hameed never exuded confidence, and three overs later was put out of his misery when he was caught behind for 11 off Daren Powell.

Bazid came to the wicket and was busy consolidating his side's position with Kamal when the rains arrived, but following the stoppage Bazid was adjudged lbw to Corey Collymore for 23 to leave Pakistan 47 for four.

Earlier, Chanderpaul swept leg-spin bowler Danish Kaneria to fine leg for two runs to reach his landmark before his side was dismissed about five minutes before the scheduled tea break. Left-hander Chanderpaul hit 10 fours and two sixes from 254 balls in 5-3/4 hours of dogged batting that helped his team tighten their grip on the match, and puts them in the frame for their first victory in a Test, since an innings and 99 runs win over Bangladesh at Kingston last June.

Before lunch, Chanderpaul, who scored 92 in the first innings, was within reach of his hundred, but the wicket of Wavell Hinds left West Indies on 271 for five at lunch.

After West Indies continued from their bedtime position of 168 for four, Hinds had enjoyed a bit of fortune on 21, when Kaneria dropped a return catch, but the leg-spin bowler had the last laugh when he bowled him just before lunch. Hinds struck half-dozen boundaries from 129 balls in just under 2-3/4 hours and added 134 for the fifth wicket with Chanderpaul.

After the interval, five wickets fell in the afternoon period, and Pakistan gained early success, when Courtney Browne continued to struggle with the bat and was caught behind off Afridi for one. Powell came to the wicket and added 33 with Chanderpaul to frustrate the Pakistanis before Rana Naved-ul-Hasan bowled him for five.

Edwards added more insult when he spent close to an hour with Chanderpaul to raise 46 for the eighth wicket, but Shabbir Ahmed, whose bowling action continues to the subject of much discussion, had him caught behind for his highest Test score of 20 fencing a bouncer. There was little resistance from Reon King, who Shabbir bowled for five, and Corey Collymore, who Abdul Razzaq trapped lbw for a duck to bring the West Indies innings to a close.

West Indies, who were beaten 2-0 at home by South Africa in their most recent Test series and then lost eight consecutive One-day Internationals to the Proteas and Pakistan, have never lost a Test at Bridgetown, much less a Test series in the Caribbean, to Pakistan in five previous trips.

This is the first Test in a series of two, with the next match starting at Kingston's Sabina Park on Friday, June 3.