Windies avoid follow-on in Port of Spain

England's bid for a series-levelling victory ran into trouble when West Indies avoided following on in the fifth and final cricket Test.

Written by Reuters | Port Of Spain (west Indies) | Published:March 9, 2009 9:46 am

West Indies recovered from losing captain Chris Gayle retired hurt to reach 349 for four and avoid the follow-on at the close on the third day of the final test against England in Trinidad on Sunday.

England must win the test to avoid a series defeat to West Indies for the first time since 1998 but after a positive start they were frustrated by a 146-run partnership between Shivnarine Chanderpaul (52 not out) and Brendan Nash (70 not out).

West Indies trail by 197 runs with six first-innings wickets remaining and England need early breakthroughs on Monday to keep alive their hopes of avoiding a series defeat.

After West Indies had lost nightwatchman Daren Powell,England got the wicket of the in-form Ramnaresh Sarwan,who has made three centuries in the series.

Sarwan,who made 291 in the last test in Barbados,was fortunate to survive when he edged Monty Panesar to Paul Collingwood at slip and the England batsman spilled a straightforward catch.

But in the next over Danish-born pace bowler Amjad Khan rapped Sarwan on the pads and Gayle indicated to his team mate that a referral would be wasted on such a clear decision.

It was Khan’s first test wicket but he had a disappointing day with his wild bowling contributing heavily to a total of 61 extras.

Gayle had batted with characteristic aggression late on Saturday but was more restrained in the morning session and he talked debutant batsman Lendl Simmons through his innings as he closed on his 10th test century.

RISKY SINGLE

Gayle took a risky single on an Owais Shah misfield to bring up his hundred but pulled up with a hamstring injury and collapsed to the ground.

After receiving treatment,the powerfully built Jamaican hobbled gingerly off the field to be replaced by Chanderpaul.

To follow that blow,spinner Monty Panesar,who bowled with enthusiasm throughout,trapped debutant Lendl Simmons lbw after he had made a confident 24 to leave West Indies struggling at 203 for four.

England knew another couple of wickets would raise the prospect of a follow-on and a real sniff of victory.

But there was an air of inevitability about the way in which the two left-handers Chanderpaul and Nash got their heads down and ensured West Indies still have a chance of batting well into the fourth day.

Australian-born Nash has now made four half-centuries in eight test innings for West Indies and his resilience has been a major factor in the team’s improved batting form in this series.

Nash,though,was relieved when he survived a strong lbw appeal from Panesar when on 24 and later an edge off Stuart Broad fell just short of Andrew Strauss at slip.

If West Indies avoid defeat it would be their first test series win over England since 1998.

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