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May 19, 2012
West Indies 243 and 120 for 4 (Chanderpaul 34*) trail England 398 (Strauss 122, Bell 61, Trott 58) by 35 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
It is perhaps no surprise that Shivnarine Chanderpaul inhabits his own little world. It must be much safer there. When he made his Test debut 18 years ago, West Indies were No. 1 in the world. Now Test match victories are a rarity and the sound of Caribbean cricket is a prolonged lamentation for what has gone before.
West Indies, trailing by 155 runs on first innings, and already widely dismissed as no-hopers after the first two days of a three-match series, lost three top-order wickets for no runs in nine balls on the verge of tea and until Chanderpaul put up unyielding resistance with an unbeaten 34 in two-and-a-half hours (that he made so many was due to a late flurry) there was a possibility that they could lose in three days. Instead, they trail by 35 runs with six wickets remaining and have the right to a measure of respect.
Chanderpaul was intent upon batting time. He blocked a lot and left a lot. His leave is an interesting phenomenon because as he comes out of his square-on stance, his right shoulder hurtles towards the ball at roughly the same time his arms withdraw the bat in the opposite direction. Do not attempt this at home unless you have a Level 4 coaching certificate and medical insurance.
He shows colossal commitment to the cause; he just shows it in his own, sometimes contrary, way. He had six from 53 balls when a mistimed pull against Stuart Broad gave the crowd meagre sustenance; 13 from 71 when he managed his first boundary, an offside push against James Anderson which he just happened to time down the hill. There were dots in the scorebook and dots before the eyes. England imagined that Tim Bresnan had him lbw on 22 from 84 balls but lost a review as umpire Marais Erasmus' assessment that the ball was leg side was supported by Hawk Eye. They have bowled wide at him and stalemate has ensued.
England's pace attack had begun by firing in more short balls than has become their habit and it paid dividends. Adrian Barath fell to a top-of-off delivery from Bresnan, who found slight movement to have him caught at the wicket, Kieron Powell to a sucker punch as Andrew Strauss pushed Ian Bell back to deep square and Powell obligingly hooked Stuart Broad into his hands.
Then Darren Bravo was involved in his second run-out incident of the match, only this time, unlike the first innings when Chanderpaul pulled rank, Bravo did the same to Kirk Edwards. Bravo squirted Bresnan in front of square on the off side then belatedly turned down the run with Edwards halfway down the pitch, whereupon Jonny Bairstow ran him out with a direct hit.
There was also reward for Graeme Swann's offspin, a beautifully disguised arm ball that Bravo, in an aberration, allowed to drift down the slope into his off stump.
England, after sedately taking control on the second day, had to work much harder to extend their advantage as they were dismissed 45 minutes into the afternoon session, losing their last seven wickets for 132 runs. Strauss had accepted a wonderful opportunity on Friday to restate the impregnability of his position as England captain, on the Lord's ground he loves so much. He added only a single to his overnight 121 before West Indies' captain Darren Sammy successfully turned to DRS to win a wicket for Kemar Roach. Hot Spot showed a faint inside edge as well as contact with his trousers after the ball had nipped back. Strauss must have been grateful that he had played the bulk of his innings the previous day.
Ian Bell, another England batsman seeking to recover from a tormented winter, played resourcefully in more demanding circumstances before he was last out for 61, hooking Shannon Gabriel to deep square. His ninth-wicket stand of 55 in seven overs with the ebullient Swann was a useful bonus for England and, in West Indies' terms, wasted much of their good work.
A West Indies bowling attack that had failed to swing or seam the ball the previous day was a different proposition. Fidel Edwards swung the ball most noticeably and there was a bit off seam about too, with Gabriel picking up his first three Test wickets. The cloud cover was similar and so were the lengths West Indies bowled, the technique they displayed and their purpose. It could only be the ball.
Such are the glorious random aspects of cricket. Weather, pitches and even cricket balls can change from day to day. In some sports, and some parts of the world, the lack of uniformity would be viewed as a weakness; in Test cricket it is rightly seen as a strength. But it must have been galling for West Indies.
Bairstow, who had stifled an occasional yawn on the balcony the previous day as he watched England make guarded progress, was presented with a more onerous batting debut than he might have expected. He took his first ball in Test cricket, from Roach, on the chest - a badge of honour in no time - but looked settled for a debutant and unveiled three fine boundaries - two leg-side clips and a cover drive - before Roach brought one back to have him lbw.
England were anxious to push on positively with rain forecast later in the game. But Matt Prior whipped across one to give Gabriel his first Test wicket and, in the following over, Bresnan fell for nought, dangling his bat at a delivery from Sammy that seamed away.
England reached lunch at 341 for 7 and Stuart Broad faced only one delivery afterwards as Edwards skimmed his off bail. Swann fell as did Prior, bowled by Gabriel as he aimed through midwicket, but not before he had exacted some damage, making 30 from 25 balls as he feasted on several wide, fullish deliveries. He had been welcomed with a stomach-high beamer from Edwards, accidental, but worthy nevertheless of a formal first warning by the umpires for intimidatory bowling.
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