Offspinner Graeme Swann grabbed 5-57 as England claimed a big first-innings lead and kept firmly on top of West Indies on day three of the third cricket Test.
Swann,playing his third Test,helped dismiss the home team for 285 in reply to the visitor’s first innings of 566-9 declared at Antigua Recreation Ground on Tuesday. Andrew Flintoff collected 3-47.
When England reached stumps on 31-1 in its second innings,it had stretched its advantage to 312 runs. “I’m so happy with five,” Swann said. “I came off after I got four and I said to (captain) Andrew (Strauss) it didn’t bother me. But I was just lying to myself because it felt unbelievable when I took five. The seamers did such a good job with the reverse swing I thought I might not get back on. So I was delighted to get the chance in the end.”
Swann was only the second spinner to claim a five-wicket haul in 22 Tests at the ARG,following the world’s top wicket-taker,Muttiah Muralitharan,who took 5-34 in 1997. One of Swann’s wickets was Ramnaresh Sarwan,who holed out to midwicket on 94 while trying to bring up his hundred with a six.
Sarwan admitted it was a poor choice at a crucial time. “I’m very disappointed I got out on 94. To get out at that time and at that position in the game put us back as well,” Sarwan said.
“I was actually trying to hit it straight but for some reason my bat spun in my hand. It’s not a shot that I really want to talk about too much because I’m really disappointed I played that shot at that particular time.”
West Indies,resuming on 55-1,enjoyed the better part of the early exchanges as opener Devon Smith (38) and night-watchman Daren Powell (22) spent the first hour extending their partnership to 64.
But Swann provided the crucial breakthrough two balls after the drinks break as Smith aimed to hit over the leg side and was bowled. The left-hander hit six fours off 90 balls. Powell survived 86 deliveries before Swann removed him just before lunch. Powell prodded and diverted a catch to Paul Collingwood at slip at 130-3.
Sarwan and Ryan Hinds,on his 28th birthday,rebuilt the innings after lunch in a stand of 70. Sarwan,fresh off a century in the first Test,was the more fluent,especially punishing through the off side. He brought up his half century off 84 balls,but soon afterward lost Hinds as Flintoff,who struggled throughout the day with a hip injury,broke the blossoming stand.
Hinds struck three fours and a six in 27 before he edged to wicketkeeper Matt Prior. One run later,Stuart Broad landed the killer blow when he claimed the world’s No. 1 batsman,Shivnarine Chanderpaul for one.
Chanderpaul was snapped up by Prior as he drove outside off stump and West Indies wobbled to 201-5. Sarwan closed in on a 13th test century after tea but Swann returned to cut him short and help England secure a big lead.
Sarwan was six short of three figures when he perished trying to reach the milestone with one shot. He tugged a catch to Flintoff at straight midwicket after striking 14 fours and a six off 133 deliveries in 200 minutes.
Swann was staring down a hat trick when he removed Denesh Ramdin next ball as the West Indies wicketkeeper drove a full toss straight back to the bowler.
Jerome Taylor and Brendan Nash defied England for the next hour in a stand of 27 before the end came swiftly with the second new ball.
Nash spent 81 balls over 18 before he edged Flintoff to Collingwood at second slip. Swann picked up his fifth wicket one run later when Sulieman Benn was leg before for a duck,and Flintoff wrapped up the innings when Taylor top-edged a pull on 19.
England decided to forgo the follow-on and Strauss,a first innings century-maker,was out for 14 at 23-1 when he edged Fidel Edwards to second slip. Alastair Cook and nightwatchman James Anderson were both on 4 not out.