Draw looms for West Indies despite Tino Best's record breaking heroics

 

Tino Best and Denesh Ramdin's last-wicket heroics stunned England at Edgbaston, but were still powerless 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 tomorrow.

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.

There were nonetheless points of interest today, 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, which appeared his for the taking by the time he edged Marlon Samuels to slip.

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.

The fast bowler, back in Test cricket after a three-year absence, hammered England morale with an exhibition of clean striking - and measured defence when necessary.

His carefree approach and 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.

Bell was reprieved just before tea when Adrian Barath put him down on 20 at short-leg off Sunil Narine. But thereafter, he raced past Pietersen to his 50 - including five fours from 10 Rampaul deliveries at one stage.

When Finn began the day by making short work of Rampaul, caught behind in the first, it seemed England would surely wrap up the Windies innings quickly.

But Best had other ideas - and England came close to success only once, when Pietersen failed to hang on to a devilishly difficult chance at gully after Ramdin climbed into a short ball from Finn on 69 with the total on 326.

Best rubbed Zaheer Khan's 75 out of the record books, as the top score from a number 11, when he cut Bresnan high over gully for four.

It seemed things could hardly get any worse for shell-shocked England.

But there was an extra indignity when they appeared to forget the rules and tried to make their way off for the sanctuary of lunch only to be called back by umpires who had remembered that with nine down an extra half hour must be played, or until a wicket finally fell.

It did at last, when within one shot of a maiden first-class hundred, Best tried to complete the job in a single blow but edged a smear at Onions (four for 88) high for Strauss to take the catch running back from slip.

Pietersen and Bell would provide further contributions of note, but the one unforgettable passage of play was over in a match which remains unlikely otherwise to last long in the memory.

PA

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam