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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 May 2007, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Windies hit back against England
England 553-5 dec v West Indies 363-7 (stumps, day three)

By Paresh Soni

Monty Panesar took four wickets but England were made to toil on day three
Panesar took four wickets but England were made to toil

Spinner Monty Panesar took four wickets for England but West Indies fought back bravely on day three of the first Test.

Panesar bowled Devon Smith and trapped Ramnaresh Sarwan (35), Daren Ganga (49) and Runako Morton lbw as they slumped to 187-5 replying to 553-5 at Lord's.

But Dwayne Bravo (56), Shiv Chanderpaul (63no) and Denesh Ramdin (60) feasted on bad bowling as they closed on 363-7.

England were hampered by the absence of Matthew Hoggard, who did not bowl after suffering a thigh strain before lunch.

He may be available on Sunday after having a scan and England will need to polish the Windies off quickly and bat positively to prevent this game drifting towards a draw on a surface which has flattened considerably.

The home side's bowling was anything but inspired and Steve Harmison looked more like the man who endured an Ashes nightmare last winter than the one who was on top of the world in the Caribbean three years ago.

Indeed, the visitors, all of whom got starts, would have been in an even healthier position had they shown better judgement against slow left-armer Panesar, even though he bowled with great control.

After England declared on their overnight total, Chris Gayle and Ganga coped well with the movement through the air that Hoggard generated and the brisk opening spell delivered by Harmison at around the 90mph mark.

A change brought almost instant rewards when Liam Plunkett's second ball, a full delivery, beat a leaden-footed effort from Gayle (30) and knocked back off-stump.

Smith rode his luck to take over the role of aggressor from Gayle, cracking Plunkett and Hoggard on the up through the covers for three sumptuous boundaries with lunch approaching.

Ashley Giles on the TMS blog

With Hoggard going off wincing in considerable pain, the home side were running out of ideas until Smith played for turn that was not there and Panesar had his first victim with his first ball.

Sarwan began positively but was never really comfortable against the spinner, although life was easier against Harmison, who sent a succession of deliveries down the leg-side.

Plunkett's accuracy also suffered when he replaced him and England were desperate for a lift.

Up stepped Panesar to deceive Sarwan (35), Ganga (49) and Morton - who saw Paul Collingwood drop a chance high at second slip when a Plunkett delivery reared up - with straightish deliveries, which umpire Asad Rauf bravely ruled would have gone on to hit the stumps.

However, Bravo successfully knocked Panesar out of his stride after tea by coming down the track to drive him twice through long-on.

Dwayne Bravo played fluently before giving his wicket away
Bravo played fluently before giving his wicket away when well set

With no great turn on offer, other than occasionally from the rough patches, there was a bit of immunity for the talented all-rounder and successive heaves over mid-wicket and long-on brought him 10 runs which took him past 50 off 50 balls.

Stand-in skipper Andrew Strauss was again short of options and shuffled his bowlers around to force a breakthrough.

Even the dogged Collingwood had no answer to Bravo's impeccable timing and placement until, inexplicably, the Trinidadian tried to launch him into the crowd and succeeded only in finding Alastair Cook at deep mid-wicket.

England had a window of opportunity and Chanderpaul, who began cautiously, could have fallen soon after when he offered no shot to Panesar, but this time Rauf rejected a strong lbw appeal.

Ramdin could equally have been given out by Rauf when he pushed forward uncertainly - it was no different to the three successful shouts.

But the duo survived those scares to play a succession of handsome shots, none better than the two late cuts the wicket-keeper launched off Panesar.

Chanderpaul flicked Collingwood off his hips to take the score up to 300 and then edged wide of the keeper to bring up his fifty, and the runs continued to flow after the new ball was taken.

Harmison's confidence was shot by the end with the big Durham man finding it almost impossible to bowl anything straight, and when he did it was usually too full.

Ramdin three times collected pairs of boundaries off him, driving and cutting with real aplomb to emphatically record his fifth Test fifty and erase any doubts about whether the follow-on could be avoided.

Even though he edged Plunkett to second slip minutes before the close, just as they were on the tortuous tour of Australia, all the demons were once more causing disarray in English minds.

Cook hundred puts England on top
17 May 07 |  England


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