Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Windies struggling to save Test

WALKING WOUNDED Despite Steve Harmison suffering from an upset stomach and Andrew Flintoff’s hip injury, England looked poised for victory

AGENCIES , ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA

The West Indies’ Jerome Taylor bowls to England batsman Alastair Cook, not in picture, on the fourth day of the third Test between the West Indies and England in St John’s, Antigua, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

England were eyeing victory after setting West Indies 503 to win in the third Test on Wednesday and at stumps on the fourth day needed seven wickets on the final day to secure the win.

England declared their second innings on 221 for eight about an hour after the scheduled tea break, and then restricted West Indies to 143 for three in their second innings when stumps were drawn.

Alastair Cook hit the top score of 51 in the England second innings, Paul Collingwood made 34 and Kevin Pietersen got 33 as England batted themselves into an impregnable position.

For West Indies, Daren Powell collected two for 33, Ryan Hinds took two for 45 and Sulieman Benn two for 58.

England then had to wait an hour and 15 minutes either side of tea before they claimed their first wicket, and then took two more to leave West Indies wobbling on 96 for three.

But the visitors then met stern resistance from Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the final hour.

Sarwan, not out on 47, and Chanderpaul, not out on 19, added an unbroken 47 for the fourth wicket and will carry the burden of responsibility of saving the Test.

England’s progress was slowed, as Chris Gayle and Devon Smith carried the Windies to tea on 32 without loss and then proceeded to take their opening stand over the 50 mark before the visitors struck when Steve Harmison had Smith adjudged lbw for 21.

Graeme Swann dismissed Gayle, also lbw, for 46 sweeping across the line of a well-pitched delivery, and Stuart Broad deceived Ryan Hinds with a slower ball and had him caught at mid-on for six.

But it was England’s final success for the day, as Chanderpaul joined Sarwan and batted through until the close with few alarms.

Earlier, Cook had hit his second half-century of the match to help England to 135 for three at the interval.

Cook turned his 92nd ball from Benn behind square for a single to reach the landmark, as England made steady progress before lunch, after they continued from their overnight total of 31 for one.

Cook had been allied with James Anderson and they frustrated West Indies for the first hour in a stand of 46 for the second wicket.

But Anderson was dismissed on the stroke of the drinks break, when he was caught behind for 20 off Powell.

England continued to chase quick runs, and Owais Shah struck Powell for a six over mid-wicket before the same bowler bowled him middle-stump for 14 to leave the visitors on 97 for three.

After lunch, England suffered an early setback in their hunt for quick runs, when Cook was caught at slip off Hinds’ left-arm spin.

But Paul Collingwood joined Kevin Pietersen and they raised the tempo in a stand of 44 for the fifth wicket with a mixture of aggressive strokes and well-judged runs.

Pietersen improvised with a number of reverse sweeps and cross-batted strokes, but he tried one too many, and was caught behind to give Benn his first wicket in his 54th over of the match.

England then lost four wickets for 17 runs in the space of 26 balls before two sixes — one apiece to Matt Prior and Harmison — sealed the 500-run lead and the declaration.

The tourists’ victory bid was hampered by an injury to all-rounder Andrew Flintoff who managed just three overs on Wednesday.

A team spokesman confirmed that Flintoff was struggling with a hip injury. In addition, Harmison told reporters he was still suffering from the stomach upset which forced him to leave the field on Tuesday.

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