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Sarwan Smacks Century But Windies Still Face Defeat

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Digicel-sponsored Ramnaresh Sarwan cracked a counter-attacking 100 on Sunday but the West Indies were still staring down defeat with one day remaining in the second Test against England at Chester-le-Street.

“During the innings when I was batting, there was no point in time that I felt like I was in,” the right-hander said after play. “Jimmy Anderson was always there and thereabouts. I always felt he could get me out at any point in time,” he added. “I thought they (England) bowled really well as a team and given the conditions, they did very well.

The 28-year-old Sarwan, despite stroking 14 fours off just 138 balls, said he was determined to be more measured in this match following a double failure in the first Test loss.

“I thought I needed to be patient throughout the innings,” he said. “At Lord’s, I was a bit anxious and it didn’t really pay off – but I was a bit more patient here.”

The visitors, resuming their first innings on 94 for three, rode Sarwan’s 15th Test century but still fell 60 short of avoiding the follow on as they were bowled out for 310 just after tea on day four.

Vice-captain Denesh Ramdin supplied a defiant 55 but James Anderson’s five for 87 inspired the hosts.

Fellow pacer Stuart Broad took three for 62, including the two crucial wickets of Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

West Indies then struggled in its second innings, reaching 115 for three before bad light ended play with 15 overs unused.

Captain Chris Gayle blasted six fours and two sixes in a thrilling 54 off 43 balls.

Chanderpaul remained unbeaten on 18, moving past Sir Viv Richards (8,540) as the second highest West Indian run-scorer in the Test history.

Earlier in the day, Chanderpaul and fellow Guyanese Sarwan stretched their overnight partnership to 99 before England finally broke through half an hour before lunch.

Broad, from around the wicket, found Chanderpaul’s edge with an off-cutter and wicket-keeper, Matt Prior, held the low catch.

The left-hander, who was content to be the defensive foil to Sarwan’s stroke-making, contributed 23 off 103 balls.

The 28-year-old Sarwan arrived at three figures off 131 balls with a controlled pull off Broad for his 14th boundary.

But the tall fast bowler soon gained revenge with a brute of a bouncer which Sarwan tried to ride, but only diverted a catch to gully off the handle of the bat.

The West Indies lunched anxiously at 188 for five, and declined quickly to 216 for seven as Brendan Nash and Jerome Taylor went cheaply.

Nash deflected a tentative drive at Anderson off the bottom of his bat back onto leg stump, while Taylor was plumb LBW playing across the line to Graham Onions.

Ramdin and Sulieman Benn provided some spirited resistance in a rollicking eighth wicket stand of 70 in 13.5 overs.

Benn’s career-best 35 off 48 deliveries included six fours and a six but he fell to a needless run out just when hopes of saving the follow on were brightening. The lanky left-hander lofted to deep mid-on, but was late to take off for a single and was well short when Kevin Pietersen’s pinpoint return crashed into the bowler’s end stumps.

Fidel Edwards, expectedly, faced up to a barrage of short-pitched bowling as the second new ball arrived. He was smacked on the helmet grille by Broad just before tea was taken at 303 for eight. The paceman survived to eek out 11 before a waft at Broad was bottom-edged to first slip.

Ramdin, who fluently compiled 55 off 82 balls with seven fours and a six, was last out as Anderson completed his sixth five-wicket haul in his 37th Test.

Gayle dominated a half century opening stand with Devon Smith once the West Indies was forced to follow on. The Jamaican smacked the second ball he faced for six over long-on to announce his mood and peppered the boundary with some innovative stroke-play.

He lost Smith (11) at 53 for one as the left-hander departed to Graeme Swann’s off-spin for the fifth time in five Tests. The Grenadian was plumb leg before playing back to a straight ball.

Onions, who persecuted the West Indies in the first Test defeat at Lord’s, made his mark in the closing stages by claiming the vital scalps of Sarwan and Gayle.

Sarwan, who maintained his first innings fluency to compile 22 off 21 balls with four fours, was just as adjacent as Smith, as he played across the line of a good length delivery.

Two balls later, Gayle sparred at a lifter and his opposite number Andrew Strauss just clung on to the regulation first slip catch.

The Wisden Trophy, won in the Caribbean a mere 69 days ago, will be handed back to England on Monday, but Sarwan said he was confident his side could save the match on Monday’s final day. “I think we’ve got the batting. We just need to apply ourselves and if we can do that, hopefully, we’ll be able to save the game.”

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