England close in for victory
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:West Indies v England
Player:GP Swann, JM Anderson, AN Cook, RR Sarwan, S Chanderpaul
Event:England in West Indies 2008/09

DateLine: 19th February 2009


The hopes of West Indies retaining their 1-0 lead over England rested with the pairing of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. By the close, the pair were still together in an unbroken partnership of 47, after England's bowlers had plucked out three wickets in the final session to have a go at victory. Earlier, Andrew Strauss had declared their second innings on 221 for 8, leaving their opponents a daunting target of 503. It is at the same venue in 2003 that Sarwan and Chanderpaul famously made centuries helping West Indies chase a record breaking 418 to win the match. Such thoughts and the recent Chennai chase must have been lurking at the back of Strauss's mind as he contemplated the timing of his declaration and he eventually declared midway through the afternoon session. Andrew Flintoff was labouring visibly with a hip injury as he didn't appear until No. 9 in the order, whereupon he scratched around for eight runless deliveries to record the third pair of his Test career and contributed only three medium-paced overs out of 44.


For the first hour of the day the overnight pair of Alastair Cook and James Anderson, who acquitted himself well in a 53-ball 20 as nightwatchman kept the Windies pacers at bay quite admirably. Anderson eventually fell on the stroke of drinks to Daren Powell, whereupon Shah trying to up the ante lost his middle stump. Pietersen was in his usual self scoring 32 from 46 balls, an innings replete with switch hits, the last of which led to his downfall as Benn found the outside edge of a slog over cover while Paul Collingwood was busy during a 31-ball 34 before having his stumps splattered as he swung and missed against Ryan Hinds.


Cook made a levelled headed 58 from 103 balls and was dismissed as Hinds found some leaping bounce out of the rough and a looping catch ballooned off the glove to Smith at slip. Prior made a run-a-ball 15 to justify his presence after running Broad out for 1, but Flintoff's awkward and revealing cameo suggested that they might have been better served with an earlier declaration, while leaving him back in the pavilion to get extra treatment from the physio. By tea, however, Strauss's reticence had been justified, as West Indies pushed through 14 overs without alarm.


In Flintoff's absence, England's remaining seamers plugged away on a surface that offered next to nothing. West Indies batted with composure reaching 32 for 0 at tea, before Steve Harmison forced the first breakthrough of the innings when he trapped Devon Smith leg before. Chris Gayle identified the spin of Graeme Swann as the most threatening weapon in England's armoury, and took it upon himself to bludgeon him out of the attack and as a result Swann was smacked for five fours in as many overs. But Swann, who showing no fear of being attacked, maintained his composure trapped Gayle lbw for 46. Ryan Hinds drove lazily and was picked out by Owais Shah at short midwicket. At 96 for 3, West Indies were in some serious danger, but Sarwan counterattacked and Chanderpaul dropped anchor in typical style for 18 not out from 41 balls.



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