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West Indies v England 4th Test

Fourth Test, Barbados (day four, close):
England 600-6 dec & 6-0 v West Indies 749-9 dec

By Paul Grunill

Ramnaresh Sarwan
Sarwan acknowledges the crowd's applause for his 452-ball innings

Ramnaresh Sarwan hit a magnificent 291 to lead West Indies to their best-ever score in Barbados on day four of the fourth Test against England.

Sarwan shared a sixth-wicket stand of 261 with Denesh Ramdin as the home side reached 749-9 declared, their third highest total on any Test ground.

Skipper Chris Gayle called a halt when Ramdin was bowled for 166 by Graeme Swann, who had figures of 5-165.

Trailing by 149, England then survived two overs to end play on 6-0.

The tourists must now look to avoid potential embarrassment on the final day, knowing their chance of a series-levelling victory has gone, having lost the opening game in Jamaica.

Resuming on 398-5, West Indies soon collected the three runs they needed to avoid the follow-on.

And as the morning session wore on, a run-out appeared the most likely way England would bag a wicket as Sarwan and Ramdin played seam and spin with equal ease, their only cause for alarm coming when their calling went awry.

Sarwan reached the second double century of his Test career with a top edge for four off Jimmy Anderson.

And he greeted the introduction of Stuart Broad with a glorious cover drive for four.

England wasted their one remaining referral of the innings when Ryan Sidebottom's appeal for an lbw against Sarwan was turned down - a decision upheld by the TV umpire because the ball had pitched outside leg stump.


The tourists had cause to rue their haste when Ramdin, on 32, survived an appeal for a catch down the leg-side by keeper Tim Ambrose off Paul Collingwood - a decision they could not contest - despite replays suggesting the ball had flicked the inside edge.

Collingwood was arguably England's best bowler during a lengthy spell either side of lunch, mixing up off and leg cutters with an occasional quicker delivery.

But Sarwan and Ramdin were in no mood to give away their wickets on such a benign surface.

A long hop from Ravi Bopara in the afternoon session was despatched by Sarwan to bring up 500 for West Indies, and two runs off Collingwood carried him to 250.

Andrew Strauss rotated his bowlers at regular intervals, but England looked drained of inspiration. It was not until the arrival of the third new ball that they posed any significant threat.

Although Ramdin brought up his century with a tickle to fine leg, the partnership came to an end when Sarwan, having cracked the previous ball for four, was bowled through the gate by a perfect inswinger from Sidebottom.

Strauss and Kevin Pietersen were quick to shake Sarwan's hands as he walked off to a deserved ovation after an 11 hour 40 minute innings, although his feelings must have been mixed having come so close to joining Brian Lara, Garfield Sobers, Gayle and Lawrence Rowe on the list of West Indies batsman to post a triple century.

Despite his departure, England's torment continued as Taylor, buoyed by a recent hundred in New Zealand, adopted an aggressive approach for the start of his innings.

An attempted bouncer from Sidebottom was deposited into the Greenidge and Haynes stand with a resounding thwack from the blade of his bat, and he later repeated the stroke off the same bowler before hammering a full toss square for four.

Taylor's third six was another clean hit, this time back down the ground off a slower ball from Bopara, and he reached his fifty by cutting Swann behind square for four.

790-3 dec v Pakistan,
Jamaica 1958
751-5 dec v England,
Antigua 2004
749-9 dec v England,
Barbados 2009
747 v South Africa,
Antigua 2005
It was his last scoring stroke, however, as Swann deceived him with a well-flighted delivery which hit the top of off stump.

Ramdin continued on remorselessly past 150 and Sulieman Benn launched Swann over mid-wicket for four before he was caught behind for 14 trying to pull a rising delivery from Anderson.

The innings came to an end when Ramdin, after facing 268 balls and hitting 20 boundaries, tried unsuccessfully to angle Swann into the off-side and was bowled.

It left England facing an anxious few minutes against Fidel Edwards and Daren Powell armed with the new ball.

But, although the former in particular found more zip than the England attack, Strauss and Alastair Cook saw off the danger with relative comfort.

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see also
Collingwood rues lifeless pitch
01 Mar 09 |  England
Fletcher backs referral system
01 Mar 09 |  England
England on top after Strauss ton
26 Feb 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England

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