England defeat brave West Indies

England retained the Wisden Trophy with a 60-run win over West Indies, but not without a stern fight from the visitors on a largely engaging final day. West Indies knocked 93 runs off their overnight deficit pressing on outstandingly in the morning session before wilting quickly after lunch. Monty Panesar took 3 wickets on the day and 6 in the innings, moving on to his maiden 10-wicket haul in a matchwinning performance.

The key to West Indies’ fortunes on the day, Shivnarine Chanderpaul resumed in the morning on 81 not out. It was readily apparent then that he needed to be unbeaten at the end, and even in defeat he managed to remain untouched on 119 at the fall of the last wicket. With Denesh Ramdin he forged a partnership of 62 for the sixth wicket, but they managed only 10 runs together on the fifth morning until separated. A bit of extra bounce and a lot of persistence from Panesar accounted for the young wicket-keeper batsman. Ramdin edged to Paul Collingwood at slip.

In came Darren Sammy, more than a day on from his stunning 7-wicket heroics with the ball. But the sheen was not gone and he bottled his passion into an aggressive start to his innings. Uppercutting Steve Harmison over the slips and smacking Panesar back overhead, Sammy started impressively and briskly. He was progressively more bogged down by the spin of Panesar, however. The far more experienced Chanderpaul hardly held the strike and crawled along in scoring only 23 runs through the morning session. Greater responsibility was then placed on the debutant Sammy, and for all the promise he displayed, it was always inevitable that he would perish to Panesar. That it took a sharp caught-and-bowled by the left-arm spinner did not depreciate the fact.

Sammy was made to walk for 25, leaving West Indies still needing 107 runs for victory. With Jerome Taylor, Chanderpaul continued his liberal stance with the strike, supplying it to his less talented partner regularly in a union of 37 for the eighth wicket. The left-hander scored 18 runs from 41 balls, while Taylor faced 47 balls for his 11 runs. In the gritty process, Chanderpaul rose in celebration of his 15th Test century. It came from 233 balls and further stated how sorely he was missed during the 2nd Test debacle at Headingley. West Indies arrived at lunch needing 75 for victory with 3 wickets still in hand. Surely there were nerves in the England camp, a rare occasion in the series to date, but a breakthrough was not long in coming after lunch. In the second over after resumption, Chanderpaul surrendered the strike with 5 balls remaining. Keen to the opportunity, Harmison banged the ball in at Taylor’s throat. The batting capabilities of the fast bowler were too severely tested, and he fended the ball to Alastair Cook at short leg.

As Fidel Edwards took guard, minds turned quickly to the barrage of short deliveries that he bowled to Harmison in the first innings. The predictable response from Harmison rose short and fast into Edwards’ ribs. As he tried to play the ball, he instead edged to gully and the waiting Ian Bell. Corey Collymore failed to score from any of his 11 balls at the crease, then was last out to Panesar stunningly caught by Bell at short leg. Chanderpaul faced 257 balls in his courageous innings, but in playing with the late order he may expressed a bit too much faith in his teammates.

With the win England continue unbeaten in a series at home since the Ashes in 2001, winning their fourth successive series against West Indies, and their third on home soil. But for West Indies the result holds greater value, perhaps, as their competitive showing instills some sorely lacking pride to a team that has been bruised and battered consistently away from home.

England 370
Ian Bell 97, Alastair Cook 60
Corey Collymore 3-60, Fidel Edwards 3-94

West Indies 229
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 50, Devon Smith 40
Monty Panesar 4-50, Ryan Sidebottom 3-48

England 313
Alastair Cook 106, Kevin Pietersen 68
Darren Sammy 7-66, Dwayne Bravo 1-14

West Indies 394
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 119*, Runako Morton 54, Dwayne Bravo 49, Denesh Ramdin 34
Monty Panesar 6-137, Steve Harmison 4-94

England won by 60 runs.
England lead 4-match series 2-0.

Man of the Match: Monty Panesar

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