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West Indies v England 3rd Test

Third Test, Antigua (day five):
England 566-9 dec & 221-8 dec drew with the West Indies 285 & 370-9

By Pranav Soneji

Daren powell celebrates drawing the match against England
Daren Powell was the unlikely hero with the bat for the West Indies'

A brave batting display from the tail-enders saw the West Indies claim a superb draw to deny England a series-levelling victory in Antigua.

The home side looked set for defeat at 322-8, but resilient batting from Daren Powell, assisted by Sulieman Benn and Fidel Edwards, rescued the match.

Stuart Broad (3-51) took the vital wickets of Ramnaresh Sarwan (106) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (55).

The pair put on 148 runs to give their side the chance to earn a famous draw.

With the light rapidly diminishing as evening set in over the Antigua Recreational Ground, Powell and Edwards gratefully accepted the umpires' offer to go off with just four overs remaining in the match.

With men surrounding the bat in the final few overs, England's bowlers could not penetrate the obdurate resistance of the tail-enders, who ensured the West Indies maintain a 1-0 series lead going into the fourth Test in Barbados, which begins next Thursday.

England had looked set for victory when Denesh Ramdin played on to his stumps off James Anderson in the 111th over with the score at 322-8.

However, Powell, who finished 22 not out from 55 time-sapping deliveries, combined brilliantly with Benn and Edwards as England pressed for the final two wickets.

England captain Andrew Strauss will view this result as a missed opportunity to atone for their debacle in the first Test in Jamaica.

Of more concern for England's selectors is the fitness of Andrew Flintoff, who bowled flat out despite suffering a hip injury sustained in the previous day's play.

The all-rounder, who made his first appearance with the ball in the 66th over, grimaced as he pounded through 13 excruciating overs, regularly reaching speeds of above 90mph.

England had spent long periods of the final day searching for a breakthrough attempting to dislodge Sarwan and Chanderpaul, who had seen the West Indies to 143-3 on day four chasing an improbable 503 for victory.

The tourists' prospects for victory were further hampered by persistent early-morning rain showers, with 75 minutes of the morning session lost.

Ramnaresh Sarwan celebrates after reaching his 13th Test century
Ramnaresh Sarwan celebrates after reaching his 13th Test century

When play did eventually begin, the languid Sarwan brought up his second 50 of the match - his 32nd of his Test career - with a back-foot push through point, although an inside edge just saved him from a certain lbw dismissal against Steve Harmison from the following delivery.

The Guyanese duo began to grow in confidence, with Sarwan brutal on anything short and wide outside off stump, while Chanderpaul accumulated via prods, nudges and drives in his own idiosyncratic way.

Graeme Swann's introduction in the 56th over added variety, but the Nottinghamshire spinner could not tempt either batsmen into a false stroke.

With Strauss running out of options, the England captain had no option but to turn to Flintoff, recipient of a cortisone injection to placate the pain in his hip.

Sarwan moved into the 80s with a sumptuous back-foot drive through the covers off Flintoff for four, but did extremely well to keep the very next ball - a grass cutter which barely bounced above his toes - from skittling his stumps.

Sarwan was lucky to edge an Owais Shah delivery, too close to cut, for four past the despairing dive of Paul Collingwood at slip, a boundary which took him to the 90s for the second time in the Test.

Meanwhile, Chanderpaul brought up his 51st Test half century with a whip off his toes through mid-wicket off Swann.

And minutes later Sarwan brought up his 13th Test century with a cut through gully for a boundary off James Anderson, a determined century appreciated by the predominantly English support.

England eventually made a breakthrough with the new ball in the 81st over when Broad nipped one back into Sarwan, whose impeccable defence was penetrated by a delivery which kept low..


The dismissal brought an end to a frustrating 148-run fourth-wicket stand between the pair, giving England fresh impetus to rip through the remaining six wickets.

England missed a golden opportunity to send Chanderpaul back to the pavilion when the left-hander top-edged a Broad bouncer down to Steve Harmison, but the Durham bowler could not reach the ball in time.

Canny bowling from the Nottinghamshire seamer earned England their next wicket when Chanderpaul nudged a rising ball outside off stump into the hands of wicketkeeper Matt Prior, ending a 231-minute vigil.

Brendan Nash then fell before to Graeme Swann for 23, attempting to play the ball a straight ball with his pad rather than bat.

Jerome Taylor, who boasts a Test hundred, batted sensibly alongside wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, compiling a patient 24-run partnership before he scooped a leg glance to substitute fielder Ian Bell.

Ramdin, who had been on a king pair at the start of his innings, played a patient knock of 20 before playing on Anderson on to his stumps to leave the home side reeling at 322-8.

With an extended slip cordon in place, England pressed for quick wickets, only to encounter a series of attractive flicks from Powell and Benn.

The pair had put on 31 very frustrating runs, blocking anything on their stumps from England's pace attack.

With options rapidly diminishing, Strauss turned to Swann, who immediately rewarded his captain when he trapped Benn lbw at the third time of asking on the front foot, much to the disgust of the tall spinner.

But a spirited defensive display from Edwards ensured England were left exasperated as the light continued to fade.

The number 11 played out 10 overs alongside fast bowling partner Powell, with nine men surrounding the bat, to guide their side to a memorable draw.

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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
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