Cricket: Tino Best blasts record score against England
TINO Best and Denesh Ramdin’s last-wicket heroics stunned England at Edgbaston, but they were still unable to permanently revive the rain-ravaged third Investec Test.
After a 143-run partnership between record-breaking number 11, Best (95), and Ramdin (107no) was cancelled out by Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell’s own century stand, a draw looms today.
Once England’s reply to West Indies’ 426 was given substance by Pietersen (78) and Bell (76no) in a stumps total of 221 for five, this contest was headed down a blind alley. But there were points of interest yesterday, topped by Best’s highest score in Test history for any number 11.
Pietersen will also have derived satisfaction at signing off in style for the next month – thanks to his retirement from limited-overs cricket – although not as much as if he had gone on to a near run-a-ball 21st Test century.
His and Bell’s innings were accomplished, and significant after England stumbled to 49 for three, but bordered on the mundane in comparison with what preceded them. In a mesmerising and hugely entertaining morning session, Andrew Strauss’ world number ones simply had no answer to Best and Ramdin.
Fast bowler Best, back in Test cricket after a three-year absence, hammered England’s morale with an exhibition of clean striking. His unheralded skill entirely belied his batting position, and brought him 14 fours and a six from 112 balls.
Best dominated the first 50 runs of his stand with Ramdin, whose share was just eight runs. By the time the pair had 100 between them, Ramdin had redressed the balance a little, on his way to a 160-ball hundred which contained nine boundaries and was followed by an equally notable gesture in celebration.
The wicketkeeper had clearly taken criticism from West Indies great Viv Richards to heart, and, on reaching his century, dug into his pocket to unfurl a hand- written message which read “Yeah Viv Talk Nah”.
Best, by contrast, marked his partner’s achievement by immediately smashing Tim Bresnan high over long on for six.
It was the number 11 who had begun the remarkable turn of events by announcing himself with a series of resounding drives against Steven Finn and Graham Onions.
But his defence and effective avoidance of the short ball were sound too, and two forces for four off Graeme Swann also required impressive footwork.
England’s prospects of pushing for an unlikely victory had nosedived from slim to non-existent. Instead, the Windies could fleetingly just about hope for a consolation success in a series already lost – until Bell and Pietersen intervened with their partnership of 137.
Ravi Rampaul had Alastair Cook lbw pushing forward, Jonathan Trott edged Darren Sammy down on to off-stump, and Best had Strauss cutting the second ball of his second spell high to slip where Darren Bravo held a very good catch.
When Finn began the day by making short work of Rampaul, caught behind in the first over, it seemed England would wrap up the Windies innings quickly. But Best had other ideas. He finally fell when trying to reach a maiden first-class hundred in a single blow but edged a smear at Onions high for Strauss to take the catch running back from slip.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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