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March 22, 2009
West Indies 264 for 8 (Chanderpaul 112*, Sarwan 74, Anderson 3-37) beat England 243 (Strauss 105) by 21 runs
Shivanarine Chanderpaul rounded off a week of personal honours and awards with his 10th one-day international hundred to lead West Indies to a series-levelling 21-run victory, at a packed Providence Stadium, to help ease the memories of Friday's farce. His unbeaten 112 enabled the home side to post a challenging 264 for 8 on another slow surface and despite Andrew Strauss's third ODI ton, and first since June 2005, England pulled up short.
Unlike Chanderpaul who had Ramnaresh Sarwan for company, Strauss's innings was a lone hand and he couldn't form a crucial stand with anyone. Fifty partnerships came with Owais Shah and Dimitri Mascarenhas but they weren't enough. Dwayne Bravo set England back on their heels with two wickets in three balls when he removed Shah and Paul Collingwood. From there Strauss was always fighting against the tide against tight bowling and lively fielding. Boundaries were hard to come by all day - except for Chanderpaul - and West Indies' medium-pacers were difficult to get away.
Strauss, though, produced a fine hand and continued his outstanding form of the tour in registering his fourth hundred of the trip off 125 balls. He doesn't have the range of shots of some other batsmen, but played to his strengths and realised that if England were to have any hope, he had to remain until the end.
He gambled on holding back the Powerplay and took it in the 44th over with Steve Harmison for company. Strauss reached his ton, but rain started to fall (this time D/L was well in West Indies' favour) and two balls after the resumption he was bowled round his legs by Kieron Pollard. West Indies were home, but it always looked as though they had a few too many.
Chanderpaul has always been revered in his home country and has been showered with a host of awards in recent days. On Saturday, Chanderpaul Drive was unveiled as the latest honour and he gave the home support plenty of reasons to cheer him with another masterful innings. England paid for giving him a life on 27 when Matt Prior dropped a bottom edge off Mascarenhas, to further ignite the wicketkeeping debate, and from then on Chanderpaul was commanding.
His most nervous moment came on 80 when he pulled a high full toss from James Anderson down to long leg where Harmison held a brilliant catch, but after a brief remonstration by Chanderpaul it was rightly called no-ball for being over waist height. When he tucked a single to midwicket off his 126th ball the full house rose to cheer his achievement, and moments earlier he had also become just the third West Indies batsman to pass 8000 ODI runs after Desmond Haynes and Brian Lara.
He combined with his fellow Guyanese, Sarwan, to add 133 in 29 overs for the third wicket after the openers had fallen early. Sarwan ticked along with ease, then suddenly found another gear as he effortlessly chipped Gareth Batty over deep midwicket for six and crunched Mascarenhas over long-off for an even bigger boundary as his half century came off 58 balls.
With the third-wicket stand developing nicely and the mandatory change of ball after 34 overs West Indies opted to take the batting Powerplay. Sarwan soon fell, driving the deserving James Anderson to mid-off where Collingwood took a low catch, but Chanderpaul again showed his innovation. When Strauss set a deep off-side field he hit over the leg side, then when that gap was plugged he backed away and went over mid-off. Stuart Broad was affected, losing his cool when Aleem Dar called a leg-side wide and sent down third consecutive wides later in the over.
Chanderpaul had the confidence to bring out the reverse sweep against Broad and repeated the dose against the medium-pace of Mascarenhas and Collingwood. A clutch of late wickets meant the damage in the final 10 overs was limited, but England still had their work cut out.
Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen both dragged into their stumps before Strauss and Shah added 50 in 12 overs to set a platform. However, Bravo then showed why he is so valuable to West Indies as he found late swing to trap Shah leg before and then snaked one through Collingwood's loose drive. In combination with Darren Sammy he strangled the life out of the middle order and Sammy removed Matt Prior through a smart catch from Denesh Ramdin. Whereas Prior had come up too early against Chanderpaul, Ramdin stayed low and benefited.
England appeared to be setting their hopes on a late dash from Mascarenhas as he played sensibly alongside Strauss, but a misunderstanding resulted in a crucial run out. Strauss tried his best, but there was too much to do and it was another left-hander's innings that proved the matchwinner.
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