Chanderpaul & Nash Hit Centuries As West Indies Sniff Series Win

Obdurate left-handers Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash collected fine centuries here Monday as the West Indies moved within touching distance of a rare series win with one day remaining in the 5th and final Digicel Test at the Queen’s Park Oval.

The home team, replying to England’s formidable first innings of 546 for six declared stretched their overnight 349 for four to 544 all out on the back of Chanderpaul’s typically un-fussed 147 not out and Nash’s excellent 109.

The 34-year-old Chanderpaul’s 21st Test century spanned 361 balls and 522 minutes and included 13 fours and a six.

The 31-year-old Nash, in his seventh test, cracked 17 fours off 257 deliveries in 329 minutes as he passed three figures for the first time at this level.

England, trailing 0-1 in the Digicel Series, showed they were prepared to chase an unlikely victory on Tuesday by racing to 80 for three off 15 overs before the close, an overall lead of 82 runs.

Dangerman Kevin Pietersen led the way with an unbeaten 34 off 27 balls.

Earlier, Nash and Chanderpaul stalled England in the opening session as they stretched their fifth wicket stand to a ground record 234, eclipsing the 1953 mark of 219 between Everton Weekes and Bruce Pairaudeau against India.

Chanderpaul, inconvenienced by a sore groin, batted with typical doggedness but survived two uneasy moments before he passed three figures.

The first was early in the day when, on 56, the Guyanese feathered to wicket-keeper Matt Prior who floored the chance off the unlucky Monty Panesar.

The second came just after lunch when, on 92, he was given out caught behind off Graeme Swann by umpire Daryl Harper. Chanderpaul challenged the decision and, despite flaky evidence, was given a reprieve when TV umpire Aleem Dar advised Harper to overturn his original decision.

Those two moments failed to shake Chanderpaul’s resolve and he calmly collected another century, his first at the Queen’s Park Oval and his fifth against England.

Between Chanderpaul’s reprieves, Nash reached his own meaningful landmark, off 234 balls, with a clipped double to the leg side. It was the Aussie-born Jamaican’s sixth first-class century following three for Queensland and two for the island of his parents soon after he moved to the Caribbean late in 2007.

The pair took lunch at 433 for four but England’s bowlers were rewarded for a whole-hearted effort after the break as they claimed three wickets in the second session.

Nash fell to his first delivery after the interval, slicing a drive at fast bowler Stuart Broad to third slip.

Ryan Hinds (23) and Denesh Ramdin (15) shared useful partnerships with the immovable Chanderpaul but failed to carry on.

Hinds hit a six and two fours but never suggested permanence. He eventually was stumped as he missed a swing to leg off Graeme Swann.

Ramdin was undone by the reverse swing on James Anderson, plumb LBW playing back to an in-swinger.

The West Indies dipped swiftly after taking tea at 519-7.

Captain Chris Gayle returned despite a strained hamstring, batting with a runner, and showed an aggressive mindset. But he could add only two to his even 100 before his opposite number Andrew Strauss clung on to a sizzling drive at short extra cover off Swann.

Fidel Edwards (8) edged Broad to the wicket-keeper before Swann removed last man Lionel Baker for a duck to sneak a first innings lead of two for England.

Broad took three for 67 and off-spinner Swann earned three for 130. Anderson was probably the best of England’s attack but only claimed one for 70. Panesar claimed two for 114.

England’s intentions were clear from the time they began their second innings with an hour and 15 minutes remaining.

They lost three wickets chasing the game as the TV review system, in its trial phase, again failed another test.

Captain Andrew Strauss survived a blatant edge to wicket-keeper Ramdin off Baker, both on-field umpire Harper and TV man Dar somehow failing to pick up the distinct sound and obvious deflection.

Strauss (14) failed to make use of the let-off as he chipped a return catch to Gayle.

Owais Shah (1) followed a run later, this time a clear edge off Baker picked up by Harper.

But before the end, another TV review sent Alastair Cook (24) on his way, caught behind off Ryan Hinds.

Pietersen already with three fours and a six carried the tourists’ hopes of quick runs into Tuesday’s final day although Edwards’ fiery bouncer off the last ball of the day reminded the England ace it would not all be plain sailing.