x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

West Indies hang on for series win

West Indies hang on with just two wickets left for a series winning draw against England that secures the Wisden Trophy for the first time since 1998.

England's fielders celebrate taking a wicket during the fifth and final Test but the West Indies hung on to secure a draw and the series.
England's fielders celebrate taking a wicket during the fifth and final Test but the West Indies hung on to secure a draw and the series.

PORT OF SPAIN // The West Indies hung on dramatically with just two wickets left for a series winning draw against England that secured the Wisden Trophy for the first time since 1998. England did all they could on the final day to try to force a win that would have ensured they kept hold of the trophy - batting positively then bowling and fielding with intensity. The West Indies, who win the series 1-0, were 90 for six before their skipper Chris Gayle, batting with a hamstring injury, survived 13 overs along with the wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

Gayle went lbw to spinner Monty Panesar, leaving Ramdin with the tail-ender Daren Powell who survived until 13 minutes of play remained when he was bowled by James Anderson. Fidel Edwards held on with Ramdin to ensure the West Indies ended on 114 for eight and frustrated a spirited England bowling attack. "I'm pretty dejected really, more than anything because of the way we played today, which was outstanding," said the England captain Andrew Strauss.

James Anderson and Graeme Swann were the pick of the England bowlers claiming three wickets each while Panesar's left-arm spin was a constant threat. "To get them eight down on a very flat wicket was an outstanding effort from our bowlers, who were tired at the end of a long series," Strauss added. "I am very proud of the way the team played today, just dejected that we were not able to force a result."

England managed to create the platform for the tense final two sessions with their positive batting in the morning. The tourists rattled up 237 for six declared by lunch thanks to a rapid 102 in 92 balls from Kevin Pietersen and a lively 61 from wicketkeeper Matt Prior. Even then it was clear it required a mammoth effort to bowl out West Indies in 66 overs on a surface that had produced 500 plus scores from both teams in their first innings.

England needed early breakthroughs and they came with the openers Devon Smith and Lendl Simmons dismissed before tea along with Ramnaresh Sarwan, a triple centurion in this series. Even so, when the West Indies went in at 78 for three at tea, they would have been confident of defending seven wickets in the final session. It quickly became clear the host's were in deep trouble when Shivnarine Chanderpaul was trapped leg before by off-spinner Swann - the left-hander using up his team's last referral in vain on what was a tight call.

Australian-born Brendan Nash, who like Chanderpaul had made a century in the first innings, was trapped leg before to Anderson and then Ryan Hinds was adjudged to have been caught by Collingwood off Panesar. England were buzzing and sensing an upset but West Indies showed some character as they battled back with resistance led by Ramdin, who survived 87 balls, making just 17 runs to occupy precious time at the crease on his home ground.

*Reuters