Windies stage a great escape
England and West Indies drew the third Test on Thursday when play was called off due to bad light with the home side on 370 for 9 and with four overs to bowl at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
West Indies still lead the five-match series 1-0, but they were indebted to their last pair of Daren Powell, who finished unbeaten on 22 off 55 balls in a knock spread over 65 minutes, and Fidel Edwards who made five in a stay which ate up a crucial 34 minutes.
Adding to England’s problems was a worrying right hip injury suffered by star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff which could rule him out of the fourth Test in Barbados from February 26. He will undergo a scan later on Friday. West Indies had earlier seen Ramnaresh Sarwan make 106, his 13th Test hundred.
“It's pretty tough to take. We had to work exceptionally hard for our wickets today,” admitted England skipper Andrew Strauss who set West Indies an unlikely 503-run victory target.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle, whose team enjoyed an innings victory in the first Test in Jamaica by bowling out England for a paltry 51, said: “Give credit to the way England batted — but Shivnarine Chanderpaul (55) and Ramnaresh Sarwan batted really well.”
In an enthralling last period, England looked set for victory. When Sulieman Benn fell to off-spinner Graeme Swann in the first over of the last 15 for 21 runs, West Indies were 353 for nine. But the visitors could not deliver the knockout punch, as Powell and Edwards batted through 10 more overs before umpires Daryl Harper and Rudi Koertzen offered them the light.
Stuart Broad was England’s most successful bowler with three wickets for 69 while Swann took three for 92.
England had been held up for the better part of the day as Sarwan fashioned a typically polished century.