Ramdin pays thanks to the names who made him
This has been a game for celebrating centuries in an unusual manner. Ravi Bopara and Ramnaresh Sarwan both brought out their Usain Bolt impressions, but Denesh Ramdin did something even more individual. On picking up his maiden hundred he reached into his pocket and pulled out a hand-written note which he held to the dressing room.
On the scrap of paper were three names - Ian Bishop, David Williams (West Indies' assistant coach) and Sarwan - the people Ramdin felt he owed for his milestone. He'd actually been so confident of reaching three figures that he scribbled his note on the fourth morning. His father was also in the crowd having flown in from Trinidad so Ramdin couldn't have timed it better.
"They are the three guys who have played an important part for me," Ramdin said. "They've been looking at the way I play and telling me I have the ability to bat long periods of time. It's about choosing the right balls to go after and if I go in with a batter [I] try and learn from him. Try and pick up certain things like which bowler to attack and how to get off strike."
Ramdin fed off Sarwan during their stand of 261, leaning on his more experienced partner for advice. Whenever there was a loose shot they would meet in the middle and say a few words. "Getting ready for that big knock I believed I could do it and was guided by Ronnie Sarwan," he said. "I knew once I spent some time out there, and Sars was there guiding me through, I would be successful in the end."
It hasn't always been an easy time for Ramdin, but that makes the success even sweeter. While some of his team-mates were making themselves rich in the Stanford 20/20 for 20 he was captaining Trinidad and Tobago in the less glamorous domestic challenge against Middlesex. He played a key role in their victory and given recent events may not be too unhappy to not have worn the Stanford uniform.
His Test place, though, has been under scrutiny after a barren run as he failed to reach double figures in the series in New Zealand and also fell short against Australia last year. He hadn't reached a Test fifty since May 2007 at Lord's and that he has come good in such emphatic style is another tick in the box for this improving West Indies line-up.
"Everything takes time and this was meant to be," Ramdin said. "As I go along things will get better, and in the years I have played I've learnt a lot from guys from our team and guys I've played against about building an innings."
John Dyson, the coach, has been consistent in backing the players he believes in and Ramdin was one of them. He too probably deserved a place on the piece of paper. When people have called for Ramdin's head, Dyson has spoken up for him saying that his main role is as a wicketkeeper and that he is the best man for the job. Dyson's support has extended to him being installed as vice-captain which was a real show of faith.
That sort of backing from coach and team can breed confidence and during this innings it translated into runs. When he came down the pitch and was bowled by Graeme Swann he was three runs away from setting a new record-score by a West Indies keeper. That is currently held by Sir Clyde Walcott, so even in second place he belongs in fine company . Sarwan also missed out on a milestone of his own, finally being bowled by Ryan Sidebottom nine short of a triple century. There have only been four West Indians before him to reach that mark - Lawrence Rowe, Garry Sobers, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle - and being so close to joining them frustrated Sarwan.
"I'm very upset, but you have to accept that it probably could have been worse," he said. "I guess there will be other opportunities and hopefully I can capitalise on them."
His disappointment should be eased knowing that he has played a major role in putting West Indies on top in this series. He has also helped nurture one of the team's young talents and that is an equally valuable contribution.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo