Chanderpaul looks forward to a morale-boosting win
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the West Indian captain, was suitably delighted with his and the team's performance so far in the first Test against Pakistan in Barbados. Chanderpaul notched up an unbeaten 153 - his first Test hundred against Pakistan - as West Indies made 371 in their second innings, giving them an overall lead of 572. At close of play on the third day, Pakistan were struggling at 113 for 4, needing a further 460 to win.
"It's always good to get a Test hundred, no matter who you are playing against," Chanderpaul was quoted as saying by Trinidad Express. "It's my first against Pakistan, I'm happy. We needed someone to stay out there and give us a good innings and most of the batters went already so I had to put my head down and stick it out."
Earlier in the match, Brian Lara scored his first century against Pakistan, and in the process became only the sixth batsman to score hundreds against all Test-playing nations. Chanderpaul hasn't yet reached the three-figure mark against New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka - he hasn't yet played a Test against the Lankans - but for the moment, Chanderpaul's focus was firmly on wrapping up the victory.
"Coming out with a win is going to be a big booster for us. Hopefully, we can do that probably tomorrow (Sunday) or the next day and help the team confidence."
Meanwhile, Fidel Edwards was quite chuffed after his five-wicket haul in the first innings, and attributed it to his improved fitness. "I have been working pretty hard over the last couple of days, mainly on my fitness, trying to prepare for this game and it paid off," Edwards told the daily after the second day's play. "The last couple of Test games I played, I was struggling to get some wickets and I really wanted to get some wickets in this game and prove my worth."
Edwards was forced to leave the field in Pakistan's second innings due to a hamstring problem, but by then he had already done enough damage, taking 5 for 38 in the first innings, and then dismissing Salman Butt for a duck in his first over of the second. It was a welcome return to form for Edwards - his last four matches had fetched him three wickets for 442 runs. His career was also set back when he sustained a back injury during West Indies' tour of England last year. When he returned, against South Africa at the same venue last month, Edwards conceded 112 runs and went wicketless. This time, he insisted, the wicket made a difference too: "The pitch had a little more bounce than the last time we played here. It is still a good track for batting and bowling and hopefully we can get the job done."
One aspect that didn't impress him as much, though, was the lack of support from the crowd - only about 3000 people turned up for each of the first three days. "It's very disappointing. Even in the South Africa series [it was the same]. The support is decreasing a lot and the more support, the better it is for us in the long run as a team trying to get back up there."