But visitors win series 1-nil
By Sean Devers in Dominica
In association with Digicel & Queensway
A capacity crowd in a Carnival-like atmosphere watched as Dominica’s newest Citizen Shivnarine Chanderpaul registered his 23rd century in the inaugural Test to be played in Dominica to help West Indies to a draw against India as the final Test of the three-match series ended yesterday.
Set 180 to win from a possible 47 overs, India lost three wickets and aborted their run-chase as the match was called off at16:50hrs with 86 required from 90 balls.
The visitors, who won the series 1-nil after their win in the opening Test In Jamaica, ended on 94-3 with Raul Dravid on 34 and VVS Laxman on three but the day belonged to the 36-year-old Chanderpaul.
Ravi Rampaul, bowling for the first time in the match due to illness took 2-31 for the West Indies who were bowled out for 322 just after lunch with Chanderpaul unbeaten on 116 from 343 balls and 505 minutes.
It was announced by Dominica’s Prime Minister yesterday that Chanderpaul, the Man-of-the-Match, had been granted Citizenship for his longevity and service to West Indies cricket.
Chanderpaul had added 161 with Kirk Edwards (110) for the fourth wicket on Saturday but it was his 65-run stand with Fidel Edwards (30 from 106 balls) for the ninth wicket yesterday that helped West Indies deny the opposition from becoming the first Indian team to win two Tests on a West Indies tour.
This was Chanderpaul’s first ton since his 166 in St Kitts against South Africa in June last year and his first score over fifty since his 54 against Sri Lanka last year. Only Vivian Richards (24), Sir Gary Sobers (26) and Brian Lara (34) have more centuries than him as West Indian players.
“Whole series I was getting out in the 20s and 30s. I am very happy to carry on past the three-figure mark. It’s at the back of my mind it has been happening for a while now,” Chanderpaul, who batted 994 minutes and 749 balls in this series, said after the game.
“It’s always an honour becoming the most capped Test cricketer for your country….. just shows what hard work can do for you.” The Guyanese added.
West Indies resumed on 224-6 with a lead of 81 and Sammy stroked two boundaries in the day’s first over from Inshant Sharma as the host, in a must-win situation to avoid a series defeat, began in positive fashion.
Sammy and Chanderpaul added 32 with positive batting before a shocking decision from English Umpire Richard Kettleborough sent Sammy (17) on his way; caught at short leg off Harbhajan at 255-7.
This was the second consecutive bad decision by Kettleborough who had given Samuels leg before on the fourth afternoon although replays showed the ball would have missed the wicket.
When Rampaul (2) was run out at 256-8, Chanderpaul on 87 was in danger of running out of partners.
Edwards missed an ill-advised hook at Munaf Patel and was struck on his helmet but he stayed with Chanderpaul, who protected him from the strike.
The raucous crowd of over 9,000, which included Dominica’s Prime Minister, roared its support for almost everything the West Indians did.
Chanderpaul edged Harbhajan just past Dravid at slip and scampered two to move to 99. He then clipped Sharma off his hip for a double to reach his century from 357 minutes, 266 balls with five fours.
The left-hander took his helmet off and bowed to kiss the pitch and his adoring fans went wild with joy. It was fitting that Chanderpaul in his record 133rd Test, returned to form against a team he had scored his very first ton in 1997 after taking 19 Tests to get to the land mark.
In 1983 in India, Clive Lloyd and pacer Andy Roberts added a record 161 for the ninth wicket and yesterday Chanderpaul and Edwards showed similar commitment to bat West Indies to eventual safety.
In sweltering heat the ninth wicket pair took their team to 294-8 by Lunch as Edwards, growing in confidence smashed Patel back over his head for four and Chanderpaul demonstrated immaculate concentration and level-headedness.
At the interval, Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 105, Edwards was 16 and the partnership 38.
West Indies began the second session with a lead of 151 and Edwards was the more aggressive of the batsmen as the 50 partnership was raised with a thumping lofted drive off Sharma for four by Edwards who passed his previous Test score of 21.
Raina then removed Edwards (30) and Devendra Bishoo (1) in the space of a run to leave Chanderpaul unbeaten for the 36th time in his career and lift his average to 49.28.
Edwards struck with the first ball of the Indian run-chase when Mukund was caught behind, but Murali Vijay (14) and the experienced Dravid (4), who has scored four of his 32 centuries against the West Indies, saw India to 19-0 by Tea.
After Tea West Indies set defensive fields and Bishoo bowled an outside leg-stump line before Rampaul ended the 79-run partnership when Vijay (45) pulled a catch to mid-on.
Raina (8) was caught and bowled by Rampaul at 86-3 and shortly after Laxman joined Dravid, the decision was surprisingly made to call off the contest with Indian seemingly still in the hunt.
“I am very pleased with the result. Thanks to the Dominica public for coming out, we thought it was a T20. The Caribbean people still love us. We were a bowler short and to come back and draw is great,” Sammy said.
“Shiv proved he is still one of our better batsmen. Dropped catches do happen in cricket, but we have not scored too many runs in this series. As long as everybody gets on board with the coach, I am happy. I was surprised that they shut shop after the third wicket fell,” the West Indies Captain added.
India’s next assignment is the first Test against England at Lords on July 21, while West Indies leave in early October for their two-Test and ODIs series in Bangladesh before traveling to India for three Tests and five ODIs.
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