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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fourth day at Edgbaston
George Dobell at Edgbaston
June 10, 2012
News : Denesh Ramdin fined for gesture
Report : Best's great day brings West Indies cheer
Mark Nicholas : Joyful Tino produces day to remember
Matches: England v West Indies at Birmingham
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of England
Statement of the day
When Denesh Ramdin completed the second Test century of a career that has, to date, promised somewhat more than he has delivered, he celebrated in unusual fashion. He dropped his bat and produced a piece of paper from his pocket which contained a pointed message to Sir Viv Richards. "Yea Viv talk nah" it read; a reaction to some criticism Richards had made of Ramdin's recent performances. "He has deteriorated in such a big way," Richards was reported as saying before this game. Viv was distinctly underwhelmed by Ramdin's statement. "That innings was a long time coming," he told the BBC. "If you are given enough chances then you will get it done." He went on to suggest that Ramdin's innings did not come in a pressure situation: "This was in a losing cause. If, in a football match, you are losing 5-0 and then score a goal in the last minute, you would not jump for joy. I set my standards a little higher."
England's record of the day
When Andrew Strauss ran back from slip to cling on to a top edge from Tino Best, there was a sigh right around Edgbaston. Few around the ground would have resented Best a Test century. But it was also a wicket that equalled the record for the most Test catches by an England player. England's captain, playing his 97th Test, has now claimed as many catches as Ian Botham, who played 102 Tests but fielded in five fewer innings. It was a timely reminder of the contribution Strauss makes to this England team in addition to his batting and his captaincy. If the last couple of days have taught England anything, it is that the importance of reliable slip fielders cannot be over stated. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/fielding/most_catches_career.html?class=1;id=1;type=team Later Kevin Pietersen also drew level with Ian Botham's tally of sixes hit in Test cricket. Both men have now hit 67, though Pietersen has played 87 Tests. Andrew Flintoff, with 78 sixes from his 78 Tests, is the only Englishman to have hit more. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283122.html
There were so many enjoyable moments in Best's innings: the way he held the pose after a stroke - whether he had connected or not - and some of the exuberant shots he played. But perhaps the most joyful moment of them all came when Best reached his 50: the uninhibited celebrations, the punching of the air, the roars of delight: he could not have appeared more happy had he won the lottery on the day he cured cancer. And why not? With a Test batting average under 10 and a gap of all but three years since his last Test, this was a day that few could thought they would see. Best went on to record the highest score by a No. 11 in the history of Test cricket in one of the most unlikely passages of play in modern times.
Second Best moment It is hard not to warm to him. Anyone who has an answerphone message that states "You're through to Tino Best, fastest bowler in the world; can't take your call, I'm training to be even faster," simply cannot be all bad. He is certainly entertaining: blessed with exhilarating pace, he made Strauss look most uncomfortable - not least with a thigh high full toss that Strauss seemed to lose completely - and eventually removed a rattled-looking England captain through an unusually poor flash outside off stump. It was Best's first Test wicket since July 10, 2009. Whether he remains the man - or one of the men - West Indies require to help them build a brighter future remains to be seen. But while he is involved, life is sure to be entertaining.
Drop of the day
History may recall that Sunil Narine endured a slightly disappointing Test debut. Much vaunted - unfairly, really - despite the fact that he had played just six first-class games and confronted with some decent batsmen and an unforgiving surface, he struggled to find the right length and was punished for more than four-and-a-half an over. He enjoyed no fortune, however. Had Adrian Barath, rising too early at short leg and failing to cling on to a tough chance, held on to a catch offered by Ian Bell on 20, perhaps the day may have ended differently. As it is, Narine remains a very talented, very raw bowler. Marlon Samuels out-bowled him here.
Shot of the day
There were many memorable strokes played on day four of this Test. While Bell's late cut for four off Ravi Rampaul - a stroke that was played with power, precision and grace - was possibly not the most memorable, it was, arguably, the most beautiful. Whatever Bell's travails over the winter and whatever his fortunes in the future, there is little doubt that he times the ball with a grace given to very few.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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