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And on Third Day in Edgbaston the weather gods smiled and the good game of cricket was alive and well. Well, perhaps it wasn't all that dramatic, but it was nice to see the sun out and the third and final test of the series between England and the West Indies finally get underway after two successive days of rain. England won the toss and put the Windies in to bat on a tricky pitch which had a little something in it for the bowlers right through the day. The West Indies openers braved out the first hour, and that made things easier for the men who followed as the visitors posted a competitive 280-8 at the end of day 3 to all but ensure that they are unlikely to lose this game from here on out. Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin both made half-centuries, the latter unbeaten to rescue their team from a precarious 152-5. The three pronged pace attack of Graham Onions, Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn shared the eight wickets to fall between them.
After two days of incessant rain, clear skies greeted England and the West Indies as they made their way to Edgbaston, hoping to get the third and final test of the series underway. Their hope was well placed as the two skippers walked out for what was likely to be a crucial toss considering that the wicket would have been sweating under the covers for the last two days. Sadly for the visitors, Darren Sammy called incorrectly and Andrew Strauss gleefully put the Windies in to bat.
There were changes galore for both teams as England opted to test their bench strength in this dead rubber, giving Steve Finn and a very much in-form Graham Onions a chance to impress. The West Indies meanwhile made four changes to their side with Kirk Edwards making way for Assad Fudadin at no.3, while the injured Kemar Roach was replaced by veteran seamer Tino Best. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine came in for his test debut in place of Shane Shillingford, while the big news was the absence of the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with Narsingh Deonarine given the rather enormous task of replacing the world's no.1 test batsman.
The West Indies openers walked out to the middle with determination etched on their faces. In the absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, the opening pair of Adrian Barath and Kieran Powell enjoyed some degree of freedom as there were the odd loose balls on offer in addition to the absence of a genuine swing threat. Graham Onions did move the ball around a tad, and was unfortunate to have Barath dropped on 4 by Ian Bell standing in James Anderson's position at third slip. Bresnan had dropped a couple of catches in the same position in the previous test, and England really needed to sew that place up before more testing tours ahead.
The West Indies openers did well to see out the new ball, and looked on course for making a telling contribution when the returning Tim Bresnan had Powell caught by Graeme Swann at second slip for 24. It was a ball that he was suckered into playing, and moved just enough to take the outside edge.
Assad Faudin came in at no.3 and gave Barath some useful company. The little right-hander meanwhile was going great guns at the other end and welcomed Swann to the bowling crease by lofting him straight down the ground for six. Faudin (15*) and Barath (40*) did well to see out the end of the first session as the West Indies posted an excellent 85-1 as the players took lunch on Day 3.
England stormed back early in the second session to restore parity to proceedings. Barath was given out leg before off Onions for 41, with the review agreeing with the on-field umpire by indicating that the ball would have kissed the leg stump. A few overs later Darren Bravo's dismal series continued when the elegant left-hander fell caught and bowled to Steve Finn for 6. At 99-3, the West Indies were in a spot of bother, and their situation failed to improve when Faudin was caught off a snorter from Bresnan, the debutant falling for 28.
Narsingh Deonarine's return to the big time proved to be shortlived as the left-hander made just 7 before nicking one from Onions to Andrew Strauss at first slip. Nottingham centurion Marlon Samuels and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin saw the West Indies through to tea at 164-5, with the former making a useful half-century, despite having been beaten on numerous occasions by the swinging ball. The talented batsman chanced his arm against Graeme Swann, hitting the off-spinner for a 6 and 4 on consecutive deliveries to bring up the landmark in just 76 balls.
The West Indies started well after tea, with Samuels and Ramdin taking their partnership on to 56 before the latter was slightly unfortunate to be given out leg before for 76, with another border line call going against the West Indies, with Tim Bresnan the beneficiary. Ramdin though continued to play a solid knock and contributed a vital half-century to the visitors' cause. Useful partnerships of 33 with Sammy (16) and 25 with Narine (11) helped push the score towards respectability.
Ramdin survived the day to remain unbeaten on 60 and had Ravi Rampaul for company towards the end as the visitors did well to finish at 280-8. With only two days of cricket left, and the weather unlikely to be this friendly moving forward, a result from this game is looking increasingly unlikely. What will be interesting to see on day 4 is how Sunil Narine performs on debut against an in-form English line-up.
England: AJ Strauss (c), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, JM Bairstow, MJ Prior (wk), TT Bresnan, ST Finn, GP Swann, G Onions
West Indies: AB Barath, KOA Powell, AB Fudadin, DM Bravo, N Deonarine, MN Samuels, D Ramdin (wk), DJG Sammy (c), TL Best, R Rampaul, SP Narine
West Indies 280/8 (98.0 overs, 2.85rpo)
M Samuels 76 (114) G onions 3-56
D Ramdin 60* (108) T Bresnan 3-74
File Photograph Copyright: LV= County Championship
- 11/06/2012 08:11 - Landmark celebration was unnecessary says Ramdin
- 10/06/2012 19:12 - Records tumble on Day 4 as West Indies post 426, England stutter to 221-5 in response
- 10/06/2012 08:08 - This is my time to shine says Marlon Samuels