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July 14, 2011
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the West Indies batsman, has rated his unbeaten 116 against India in Dominica as one of his finest Test innings. In a match in which he became West Indies' most-capped player, and in a new-look line-up where the other five specialist batsmen had a combined experience of 49 Tests, Chanderpaul battled for more than eight hours to help secure a draw.
Coming in with the team struggling at 40 for 3 in the second innings soon after lunch on the fourth day, and still trailing by more than a 100 runs, Chanderpaul defied India almost till tea on the final day.
"I would say this was one my best because of the situation of the team when I went in to bat and the way the game was going," Chanderpaul said. "To be batting on a fifth day pitch and the way the ball was bouncing and turning - some would grip and bounce and you weren't always sure which way the ball would go. You had to be very patient and very watchful and careful.
"You couldn't play as freely as you would have liked to so I had to use all my skills, and it took a lot of mental effort as well. Also, [MS] Dhoni blocked up all the areas where you had scoring opportunities and it was a lot of hard work. It was really tough out there."
It was Chanderpaul's first Test century in more than a year, during which he had made starts in most innings without converting them to a big score. His partner in the resistance was debutant Kirk Edwards, who also made a hundred during a 161-run stand for the fourth wicket.
"He [Kirk Edwards] was positive and had the right mindset. He was not afraid. He played it his way and did what he knows and what he does best.
"It was a great effort for someone to come in under so much pressure and play the way he did. I had a discussion with Kirk and we were talking about the 20s and the 30s. He told me to put that behind and we worked towards the team goals which was building big partnerships and pulling the team out of the trouble we were in."
During his innings, Chanderpaul was also awarded Dominican citizenship recognising his contribution to cricket and for playing his record-breaking 133rd Test. "I'm extremely pleased to reach this milestone. I believe it is a really big occasion," he said. "High point? I'm still looking for it. There is still more to come. Whatever knowledge and experience I have gained I would like to pass it on and help the other members of the team with their game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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