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18 Feb 2009 09:59
England were in full control of the third Test after career-best bowling from Graeme Swann carried them to a 281-run first innings lead over West Indies on Tuesday.
England—who trail the hosts 1-0—were 31 for one in their second innings when stumps were drawn on the third day at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG).
This followed Swann taking 5-57 from 24 overs, as West Indies were dismissed for 285, replying to England’s first innings total of 566 for nine declared.
Ramnaresh Sarwan hit the top score of 94 for West Indies, and there were supporting knocks of 38 from Devon Smith, 27 from Ryan Hinds and 22 from Daren Powell.
England decided not to enforce the follow-on, and suffered an early loss, when their captain Andrew Strauss was caught at second slip for 14 off the fiery Fidel Edwards.
The visitors chose to send James Anderson in as night-watchman and he was fortunate to have survived. On four, he edged Edwards to third slip, where Hinds muffed a simple chance.
Earlier, England toiled on the hard, easy-paced ARG pitch and took all their chances after West Indies continued from their overnight total of 55 for one.
Before lunch, it was Swann’s off-spin bowling, rather than the fast bowlers that provided England with two wickets, as West Indies reached 132 for three at the interval.
West Indies lost the wickets of Smith and Powell in the second hour before lunch.
The ARG pitch, as expected, played a few tricks, but England’s bowlers were not accurate enough, and the West Indies’ overnight pair of Smith and night-watchman Powell studiously navigated the first hour.
But Swann provided the breakthrough, when Smith tried an ugly-looking slog at a flighted delivery and was bowled by the second ball after the drinks break.
Strauss continued to rotate his bowlers, particularly the fast bowlers from the southern end of the ground in an effort to make use of a ridge in the middle of the pitch which made batting difficult.
But Swann was allowed to wheel away from the northern end and got his second scalp, when Powell was caught at slip playing defensively forward in the last 15 minutes before the interval.
The West Indies fast bowler had shown enormous restraint in the little more than two hours spent at the crease before Swann outfoxed him.
After lunch, England claimed two wickets—one of them Shivnarine Chanderpaul—to tighten their grip on the Test at tea.
Andrew Flintoff removed Hinds and Stuart Broad got Chanderpaul for one in the space of nine balls, as West Indies reached 221 for five at the break.
Flintoff made the breakthrough for England, after Hinds had added 70 for the fourth wicket with Sarwan, when the left-hander edged a leg-cutter and was caught behind.
Next over, England got a bonus wicket, when Broad had Chanderpaul also caught behind driving loosely at a delivery outside the off-stump.
After tea, England met resistance from Sarwan and Brendan Nash.
They added 50 for the sixth wicket before Swann returned to snare two wickets from consecutive balls.
Swann had Sarwan caught at mid-wicket playing an ugly cross-batted slog, and next ball, Denesh Ramdin was caught and bowled when he gently pushed back a full toss to the off-spinner to leave West Indies 251 for seven.
England continued to mount the pressure and eventually snared the last three West Indies wickets for seven runs in the space of 13 balls.
Flintoff gave Swann steady support with three for 47 from 14,2 overs.
England trail 0-1 in the series, which now comprises five Tests, following an innings and 23-run defeat in the opening Test at Kingston inside four days.
The other two Tests in the series take place at Kensington Oval in Barbados from February 26 to March 2, and Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad from March 6 to 10.—Sapa-AFP
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