WI chase 401 after Pietersen ton

Kevin Pietersen’s seventh Test century guided England through to the point of declaring with a lead of 400, setting the West Indies an extremely difficult target of 401 to win the First Test at Lord’s.

The visitors started at 363-7 in their first innings at the start of the fourth day’s play, and some spirited lower order resistance guided them through to a reasonable 437 all out, just 116 behind England’s first innings after at one stage facing a tough task to avoid the follow-on. Shivnarine Chanderpaul top-scored with 74, but on the fourth day it was Daren Powell who stole the show with an entertaining cameo innings of 36 not out. He particularly took to Stephen Harmison in his innings, which included seven fours.

England’s second innings was unsurprisingly a quick-scoring affair as they looked to set a tough target for the West Indies and have enough time to bowl them out again tomorrow. The innings was led at first by Alistair Cook, who followed up his first-innings century with an even more important 65.

But it was Pietersen’s day. From just 138 balls he clubbed 109, hitting no fewer than eleven fours. Although it falls short of his 158 in the fifth Ashes Test of 2005 in terms of importance, it is arguably his second-best in that regard.

Brief attacking knocks by Paul Collingwood and debutant Mark Prior, both of whom scored tons in the first innings, of 34 and 21 respectively guided the home team through to 284-8, with a lead of exactly 400. Captain Andrew Strauss decided that was enough and declared, leaving the West Indies with a target of 401 to win with a full day’s play tomorrow and two remaining overs today left in the match.

The West Indian openers survived those difficult last overs of the day, reaching 7-0 at stumps with a further 394 to win.

While it isn’t impossible that the West Indies could chase down the target tomorrow, Monty Panesar’s six-wicket haul in the first innings on an increasingly spin-friendly wicket and the sheer number of runs required put the match firmly in England’s favour. But with both sides capable of winning and a draw also a strong possibility, an exciting last day looks to be on the cards in what has been a great start to the English summer of international cricket.

England 553-5d
Matt Prior 126 no, Paul Collingwood 111
Daren Powell 2-113, Dwayne Bravo 1-106

West Indies 437
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 74, Dinesh Ramdin 60
Monty Panesar 6-129, Liam Plunkett 2-107

England 284-8d
Kevin Pietersen 109, Alistair Cook 65
Corey Collymore 3-58, Chris Gayle 3-66

West Indies 7-0
Daren Ganga 4 no

West Indies need 394 to win.

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