Tino Best’s dramatic 95, the highest-ever Test score by a No. 11 batsman, saw the West Indies stun England in their series finale at Edgbaston yesterday.
The West Indies were 426 all out at lunch on the fourth day after fast bowler Best, playing his first Test in nearly three years, helped see Denesh Ramdin, who finished on 107 not out, to a century with the wicketkeeper on 63 when the last man came to the crease.
Best’s innings surpassed India paceman Zaheer Khan’s 75 against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2004 as the highest Test score by a No. 11.
His partnership of 143 with Ramdin was also a West Indies’ record for the 10th wicket in Tests, overtaking the 106 shared by Carl Hooper and Courtney Walsh against Pakistan at St John’s in 1993.
It meant England would need 277 to avoid the follow-on.
The tourists resumed on 280 for eight after losing the toss.
Ramdin was 60 not out after Marlon Samuels, following up his century in England’s nine-wicket second Test win at Trent Bridge, had made 76.
England needed just three balls to take the West Indies’ ninth wicket when Steven Finn, brought in alongside fellow paceman Graham Onions, had Ravi Rampaul caught behind.
However, Best promptly off-drove Finn for four and then held the pose just to ram home to his opponents how good a shot it had been.
Onions, who had taken three wickets on Saturday, also came in for the Best treatment when a half-volley was driven wide of mid-off for four. When the 30-year-old Best steered Onions through the slips for four, he surpassed his previous highest Test score of 27, made against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2005.
Ramdin was almost out when, on 69, he cut hard at Finn and Kevin Pietersen failed to hold a sharp, head-high chance at gully.
England captain Andrew Strauss brought on off-spinner Graeme Swann in a bid to break the stand, but when Swann dropped short with successive balls, Best twice expertly cut him for four.
Ramdin’s single off Bresnan, after which he nearly hit the bowler’s head as he waved his bat in celebration, saw the wicketkeeper to a century in 160 balls with nine boundaries.
Ramdin produced a piece of paper from his pocket with the words “Yea Viv, talk nah” written on it, after West Indies great Vivian Richards had criticized him for failing to deliver on his promise after the second Test.
When Best uppercut Bresnan over the slips for yet another boundary he surpassed Zaheer’s record and, soon afterwards, he drove Bresnan for a straight six.
Lunch was delayed by 30 minutes giving Best a chance to complete a century. He fell just short, skying Onions to Strauss at first slip.