Best, Ramdin stun England
BIRMINGHAM, England – Charismatic Tino Best astonishingly struck the highest score by a No.11 in Test history and Denesh Ramdin stroked his second career hundred, as West Indies dominated the third and final Test against England on Sunday here.
Best, playing his first Test in three years, hit a career-best 95, and Ramdin stroked an undefeated 107, propelling West Indies to 426 in their first innings on the fourth day at Edgbaston.
Fast bowler Best was once again in the thick of things, bowling with pace and hostility to lead the Windies attack, grabbing two wickets for 37 runs from 12 overs, as England reached 221 for five in reply at the close
The Windies fast bowlers removed Alistair Cook for four, as well as Jonathan Trott and England captain Andrew Strauss – both for 17 – to leave the hosts on 49 for three about 70 minutes after lunch.
But they were made to work hard, when Ian Bell, unbeaten on 76, linked up with Kevin Pietersen, whose 78 off 81 balls has been the top score, for a 137-run, fourth-wicket stand that virtually ruled out any possibility of a result in the contest, after the first two days were lost due to rain.
Rampaul got Cook to play across a straight one, gaining an lbw verdict in the fourth over of the innings before Trott was bowled, chopping on a delivery from Darren Sammy in the West Indies captain’s second over of his first spell.
Best snared his first scalp, when Strauss slashed at one angled across him and Darren Bravo held a stinging, head-high catch at first slip.
But West Indies were made to toil, when Pietersen and Bell consolidated for England, playing with assurance against the pace attack and debutant off-spinner Sunil Narine, hauling the home team back into contention.
Off-spinner Marlon Samuels eventually removed Pietersen to a catch at slip by Sammy, but Bell was more reserved in an innings that has required 138 balls, 144 minutes and included 10 fours.
Best completed easily his most memorable day in Tests, when he bowled Jonny Bairstow for 18 about 15 minutes before the close.
Earlier, Best entertained the small crowd with a cameo, smashing 14 fours and a six off just 112 balls, surpassing the previous best by a No.11 – Zaheer Khan’s 75 for India against Bangladesh eight years ago. His previous highest score was 27 against Sri Lanka in Kandy seven years ago.
Ramdin, recalled for this series after a spell on the sidelines owing to poor form, struck nine fours from 183 balls in four hours, 50 minutes at the crease.
Ironically, Ramdin’s last hundred also came against England in Bridgetown three years ago.
Ramdin and Best added 143, the highest last-wicket stand for West Indies against England and the third highest in Test history.
Resuming the day on 280 for eight, West Indies lost Ravi Rampaul to the third ball of the morning, caught behind off Steven Finn without adding to his overnight two.
West Indies were 283 for nine, paving the way for the fireworks that followed.
Best started quietly before coming to life with a pair of thumping cover-drives for boundaries off Finn in the day’s third over.
He then smashed Graham Onions through mid-off in the next over for his third four, and twice lofted the same bowler over cover for four in the seventh over of the morning and followed up with a pair of off-side boundaries in off-spinner Graeme Swann’s first over of the day.
Best belted Tim Bresnan to wide long-on to move to 49 before taking a short single to begin celebrations for his first ever Test 50.
Ramdin, dropped at gully by Pietersen on 69, played second fiddle to Best but took two leg-side boundaries off Finn to move into the 90s and raise the century partnership.
He eventually reached his landmark with a single to backward square of Bresnan.
Best continued his remarkable innings and seemed set for a memorable hundred when Onions deceived him with a slower ball, 20 minutes into an extended morning session, for captain Andrew Strauss to take the skied catch running back from slip.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
(overnight 280 for eight)
A. Barath lbw b Onions 41
K. Powell c Swann b Bresnan 24
A. Fudadin c Bell b Bresnan 28
D.M. Bravo c and b Finn 6
M. Samuels lbw b Bresnan 76
N. Deonarine c *Strauss b Onions 7
+D. Ramdin not out 107
*D. Sammy c *Strauss b Finn 16
S. Narine b Onions 11
R. Rampaul c wkpr Prior b Finn 2
T. Best c *Strauss b Onions 95
Extras (b4, lb8, w1) 13
TOTAL (all out) 426
Fall of wickets: 1-49 (Powell), 2-90 (Barath), 3-99 (Bravo), 4-128 (Fudadin), 5-152 (Deonarine), 6-208 (Samuels), 7-241 (Sammy), 8-267 (Narine), 9-283 (Rampaul)
Bowling: Onions 29.3-7-88-4; Bresnan 34-9-111-3; Finn 32-6-109-3 (w1); Swann 26-5-85-0; Trott 8-1-21-0
ENGLAND 1st Innings
*A. Strauss c Bravo b Best 17
A. Cook lbw b Rampaul 4
J. Trott b *Sammy 17
K. Pietersen c *Sammy b Samuels 78
I. Bell not out 76
J. Bairstow b Best 18
S. Finn not out 0
Extras (b1, lb7, nb3) 11
TOTAL (5 wkts) 221
+M. Prior, T. Bresnan, G. Swann, G. Onions to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Cook), 2-40 (Trott), 3-49 (*Strauss), 4-186 (Pietersen), 5-215 (Bairstow)
Bowling: Best 12-2-37-2 (nb3); Rampaul 14-1-55-1; *Sammy 8-1-22-1; Narine 15-1-70-0; Samuels 9-0-29-1
Position: England trail by 205 runs with five first innings wickets standing
Umpires: K. Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), A. Hill (New Zealand)
TV umpire: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Match referee: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: D. Millns (England)