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Drama at the Queen's Park Oval
11 Apr 2005
By: Liam Camps

Defiance came in the form of Ramnaresh Sarwan for the West Indies against South Africa, after a middle order collapse set the tourists in control. Sarwan was unbeaten approaching his 7th Test match hundred, on 93 at the close. The second Test match now stands superbly poised for a fantastic fifth day.

On a difficult fourth day track to bat on, Sarwan played impressively alongside equally impressive allrounder Dwayne Bravo for a unbroken partnership of 78. Bravo will resume on 30 tomorrow, having been dropped by early in his innings. The West Indian score at stumps is an interesting 170/5 - a lead of 119 runs on second innings.

South Africa began the day at 370/6, but faded quickly to the offspin of Chris Gayle. Gayle took the final 4 wickets to rush the innings to a close at 398 all out. First to go was Mark Boucher, caught and bowled for 28. Just 3 balls and 1 run later, Ashwell Prince was caught by Chanderpaul for 45.

Nicky Boje played for 13 not out (crossing 1,000 Test runs) with two boundaries, but Ntini (4) and Nel (6) ultimately succumbed to Gayle's wiles. The tall Jamaican allrounder had figures of 4/50 to round off the largest bowling charge of his Test career - 37.5 overs.

Facing a first innings deficit of 51, the West Indies began its second innings. Fresh off his second best Test bowling figures, Gayle (1) failed to impact with the bat and was the victim of a fierce new-ball spell from Ntini. Former vice-captain Sarwan joined Wavell Hinds and the two patiently rebuilt the innings to the lunch break.

In the afternoon session the second wicket stand moved further to 65 when South Africa broke back into the game. Hinds, dropped by Boucher when on 14, was adjudged LBW for 22. Boje, the wicket-taker, then snared the big fish - Brian Lara bowled for 4. The double world-record holder, fresh off a first innings 196, backed off to cut a ball through the offside and was beaten by a delivery that kept low.

The dismissal silenced the small crowd at the Queen's Park Oval and inspired the hungry South Africans. Further slipping, the West Indies captain was next out. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (1) was called LBW to Ntini, though replays showed the ball pitched outside legstump.

In crisis at 86/4, Pagon (2) completed the slide, bowled similarly to his first innings dismissal. As with the first time around, the culprit was Makhaya Ntini and the South Africans had stunningly and suddenly bagged 4 wickets for 13 runs.

All the while Sarwan stood firm at the crease in the makings of what may eventuate as his third Test hundred against South Africa when he resumes tomorrow. The right-hander was calm in the face of clear adversity, keen on making up for a poor first half of the match.

He faced 190 balls on the day and stroked 9 boundaries, quick to pounce on anything he considered loose.

Sarwan found a worthy partner in local boy Dwayne Bravo, as determined as ever. Bravo was put down by the terribly out-of-sorts Jacques Rudolph off Zondeki's bowling, but was impressively defiant otherwise.

The game now moves into a compelling fifth day with so much still to play for. The home side continues 119 runs in the lead on a worn pitch that may feature 150 as a difficult target to attain. In a series tied 0-0 with just 2 more Tests to come, victory here is crucial to either side.

Score Summary:

West Indies 1st innings 347 ao (104.4 overs)
BC Lara 196, S Chanderpaul 35, WW Hinds 32
M Ntini 6/95, A Nel 3/71

South Africa 1st innings 398 ao (166.5 overs)
GC Smith 148, AG Prince 45, JH Kallis 39
CH Gayle 4/50, PT Collins 2/78, DJJ Bravo 2/98

West Indies 2nd innings 170/5 (78 overs)
RR Sarwan 93 not out, DJJ Bravo 30 not out, WW Hinds 22
M Ntini 3/30, N Boje 2/33

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