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A thrilling fourth day at Edgbaston left the fans begging for more as over 350 runs were scored in an exciting contest between bat and ball. The West Indies last wicket pair of Denesh Ramdin (107*) and Tino Best (95) contributed 143 of those as they went hammer and tongs after the bowling in the first session to help the visitors post a more than useful first innings total of 426. England were in early trouble at 49-3 in response before Kevin Pietersen (78) and Ian Bell (76*) added 137 runs for the fourth wicket to hammer their side out of trouble, Pietersen's runs coming at just under a run a ball. A couple of late wickets put England on the backfoot again at 221-5, and though a draw looks the most likely result, the West Indies will hope to spring a surprise to salvage some pride in a series they have already lost.
The opening session of Day 4 of the Edgbaston Test more than made up for the 2 days lost due to rain earlier this week as some terrific stroke play from no.11 Tino Best and some sensible batting from wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin saw the West Indies send records tumbling.
Resuming from a competitive overnight score of 280-8, the West Indies suffered an early setback losing Ravi Rampaul for no addition to his overnight score of 2 to entertain hopes of England bowling them out under 300. What followed though over the next 31 overs was some ridiculously effective batting from a man who has no business of being a number 11 in this line-up as Tino Best smashed 95 runs off 112 balls including 14 boundaries and a six to power the Windies to an excellent 426.
Best and Ramdin, who scored his second test ton, an unbeaten 107, added 143 runs for the 10th wicket. It was the best last wicket stand by the West Indies against any opposition, beating a 106 run effort by Carl Hooper and Courtney Walsh, and was in the top 10 last wicket stands of all time.
Ramdin took advantage of having the cameras on him briefly when he scored his century to launch an attack on the critics, by taking on the legendary Viv Richards, who had been rather critical of this West Indies batting unit. Ramdin help up a note which said, "Yeah Viv, talk nah!"
Best was unfortunate to miss out on his ton, top edging an attempted slog off Onions, which would have brought up his century had he connected. He did end up with the highest ever score for a no.11, beating the 75 that Zaheer Khan made for India against Bangladesh back in 2004.
Lunch was taken when Best fell, and the West Indies, the only side who can now force a result from this game came out rejuvenated after the interval, and picked up three early wickets to leave England reeling at 49-3, and under pressure for the first time this summer.
Alastair Cook was trapped leg before by Ravi Rampaul for 4 in just the fourth over before Darren Sammy's decision to bring himself on early for the tired Best was vindicated when he removed Jonathan Trott for 17, dragging the ball back onto his stumps. Best then returned for his second spell and had captain Andrew Strauss caught at first slip to give West Indies hope of an unlikely win.
The England innings needed rescuing, and Kevin Pietersen arrived on cue, playing some counter attacking cricket to dig the hosts out of a hole. Sunil Narine failed to excite in his opening spell in test cricket, and Pietersen and Ian Bell took advantage to add in excess of 50 for the fourth wicket to take England to 111-3 at Tea time on Day 4.
The light wasn't very good right from the onset of the final session and that resulted in the players making a few visits to the dressing room. In the time that was available to play, Ian Bell took a liking to Ravi Rampaul and hit the fast-medium bowler for 5 boundaries in 2 overs. Pietersen and Bell brought up their half-centuries on consecutive deliveries, and the duo were taking England to a level of considerable safety.
England continued to pile on the runs post the resumption of play, scoring in excess of 4 an over with consummate ease. The breakthrough that the West Indies so desperately needed came against the run of play in the 45th over with Marlon Samuels getting one to take the outside edge of Kevin Pietersen's bat through to Sammy at slip. It was a disappointing end for KP as he fell for 78, denied what looked for all money to be yet another century. The end of the 137 run fourth wicket partnership brought a struggling Jonny Bairstow to the crease.
Bairstow's poor series continued with the youngster contributing just 18 before being bowled by Tino Best, to end a terrific day for the West Indian quick. Ian Bell (76*) and Steve Finn (0*) survived the late spin onslaught in terrible light to make their way into day 5.
It is exceptionally disappointing that a result in this game is so unlikely given the fact two days were washed out, but the West Indies could still make this game interesting by knocking over the England lower order early tomorrow. A sporting declaration from Sammy could result in a Manic Monday in Edgbaston, provided the weather continues to stay true.
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 1st Innings 426 all out (129.3 overs, 3.28rpo)
T Best 95 (112) G Onions 4-88
D Ramdin 107* (183) T Bresnan 3-111
England 1st Innings 221/5 (58 overs, 3.81rpo)
K Pietersen 78 (81) D Sammy 1-22
I Bell 76* (137) T Best 2-37
File Photograph Copyright:
- 11/06/2012 17:56 - Washout in Edgbaston prevents play on Day 5, England take series 2-0
- 11/06/2012 08:15 - The rebirth of Tino Best
- 11/06/2012 08:11 - Landmark celebration was unnecessary says Ramdin