WI Hit Back in First Test
Whatever is the outcome of this Investec Test match, it will be remembered for the remarkable effort of West Indies master batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Once again, just as he had done in the first innings with a score of 87 in saving the innings from total disintegration, he showed extraordinary concentration and application not just in building his innings but keeping his team’s innings intact while scoring 91. It was six and a half hours of total defiance, following four hours in the first innings, after England had again put itself in a commanding position.
Shortly before close of play, with seven overs remaining for the day, England began their second innings with a victory target of 191 and made a shocking start losing two wickets for 10. Andrew Strauss went for 1, caught at gully in fending a shortish ball and the nightwatchman James Anderson for 6 with Kemar Roach claiming both in a fine opening attack.
Earlier, resuming the innings on the fourth morning on 120 for four and still trailing by 35 runs after conceding as many as 155 on the first innings, Chanderpaul with 34 overnight, showed great dedication to the task of playing a major innings. England bowlers were made to strive hard throughout the morning session of play. Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, on 26 overnight, batted with caution and were content to occupy the crease as they took singles, cutting out the extravagant shots.
Samuels gradually brought up his fourteenth Test half century from 97 balls and then promptly took two consecutive boundaries off Graeme Swann, the first of which wiped off the deficit and then the next was driven beautifully to cover point. His partner, having got to 46 with a lovely cut for four reached his 61st Test fifty from 151 balls with an edged boundary. Samuels went on to take two successive fours off Swann, a drive to mid-off followed by a crisp straight drive. Chanderpaul too displayed rare aggression when he cut the occasional bowler Jonathan Trott through gully and then hooked Tim Bresnan for four to get to 61. At lunch he was on 73 and Samuels on 79 with the tourists 212 for four and leading by 57.
England took the second new ball an over after lunch as it became due and within half an hour got the breakthrough. Samuels had done excellent work in his stand lasting a little under four hours with his senior partner and would have deserved a third Test century. But with just fourteen short of three figures, off 172 balls, Stuart Broad swung a well pitched up ball away and the Jamaican all-rounder could only edge it to second slip. That was 222 for five with the tourists 67 runs ahead. It was quite an achievement when one thinks that they got together an hour and a half before stumps on the previous evening with their side struggling on 65 for four and they went on to add 157 from 327 balls.
Chanderpaul progressed into the eighties with a neatly flicked boundary off Broad while he had formed another solid stand with Denesh Ramdin. They took the total to 261 after taking twenty overs to put on 39. Swann finally brought enormous relief to his team trapping Chanderpaul leg before wicket with him only nine runs short of his 26th Test century. It was the second time in the match when he had missed a hundred so narrowly. It had been a most laudable effort both times at the crease. This time he had faced 250 balls, hitting twelve fours, during is marathon effort.
With Chanderpaul dismissed two overs before tea and the tourists only 106 runs ahead, England were back again in a commanding position. While Ramdin kept his end up, the captain Darren Sammy, playing in only his second Test in this country, increased the tempo. He hit 37 from 47 balls but 33 of his runs had come from 37 balls during which Tim Bresnan had been hit for twenty in one over. With Sammy held behind the wicket off Broad the visitors were 307 for seven and six runs later Broad struck again to claim his fourth wicket having Roach held for four. It gave Broad match figures of 11 for 165 in a brilliant spell of pace bowling.
Ramdin did well to take the score to 325 before losing his wicket when James Anderson bowled him for 43 in a shade under three hours which showed his resolve. The innings was finally mopped up on 345, a lead of 190, with Swann bowling Shannon Gabriel for 13 to finish with three for 59.