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Magnificent Holder Saves The Day for West Indies

Denesh Ramdin (left) and Jason Holder (right) put on a 105-run stand as West Indies drew the first Test against England in Antigua.
Denesh Ramdin (left) and Jason Holder (right) put on a 105-run stand as West Indies drew the first Test against England in Antigua.
©REUTERS / Action Images

West Indies 295 & 350-7 (Holder 103no) drew with
England 399 & 333-7 (Ballance 122)
First Test, Antigua, day five

Jason Holder produced a memorable rearguard innings of 103 not out and with the support of a gritty innings by his skipper Denesh Ramdin, West Indies survived 130 overs to draw the first Test against England in Antigua.

West Indies started the day on 98 for two, Devon Smith (65) and Marlon Samuels (23) the overnight batsmen.

It took England 45 minutes to get their first breakthrough but when it came, most West Indians would have been exasperated.

Smith virtually threw it away, charging James Tredwell (1-93) without reaching the pitch of the ball and scooping a simple catch to Gary Ballance.

That ended his 175-ball vigil, missing out on a probable century. Samuels followed soon enough driving at a wide one outside off and edging to the gully.

James Anderson (2-72) managed to equal the record of Sir Ian Botham for most Test wickets by an English bowler with the wicket of Samuels.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul (13), who is close to toppling Brian Lara’s Test tally, was struck in front by a Joe Root slider and not even a review could save him.

West Indies went into lunch 162 for five, England picking up three important wickets in the first session.

Hero of the first innings, Jermaine Blackwood (31) started well after lunch with two fours off Tredwell.

However, his aggression got the better off him as he played a terrible slap shot charging Chris Jordan (1-48) and under-edged the ball to Jos Buttler.

That unnecessary and reckless shot put West Indies in real trouble at 190 for six, with close to 50 overs to survive.

However, Ramdin (57), the skipper, and Holder (103 not out) who was one of West Indies’ better batsmen in the World Cup put up an amazing rearguard action even as England went ahead and took the new ball.

Holder brought up his 50 with a four off Tredwell, his second in less than 10 innings for his team. Ramdin followed suit with a push down the leg-side off Jordan’s bowling.

Ramdin’s 141-ball stay ended though with a nick to slips off a leg-cutter making Anderson England’s leading Test wicket-taker.

The pair had added 105 runs but more importantly played out more than 32 overs, largely responsible for saving the match.

Kemar Roach (15 not out) inherited his skipper’s resilience and continued supporting Holder who had played an almost Zen-like innings.

Roach was given out caught behind by Billy Bowden in the 114th over, but the West Indians reviewed it correctly, the decision overturned as Roach missed the ball by quite a margin.

West Indies’ Herculean effort could be noted by the fact that in the last 30 years, only thrice has a team batted for more than 100 overs in the fourth innings to save the game against England.

The 23-year-old Holder was also able to knock off fours every now and then playing like a top batsman. Meanwhile, Roach survived another review late in the day for caught behind.

Holder brought up his maiden breath-taking century in the penultimate over of the day with couple of fours off Tredwell, his innings consuming 149 deliveries.

West Indies saved the day, without any more loss of wickets, lasting 130 overs in total in one of the greatest match saving efforts in the last few decades.

Roach had played out 55 balls himself by the time West Indies salvaged the draw, the eighth partnership of an unbeaten 56 runs lasting 110 balls on a fifth day pitch.

For England, Root (2-22) picked up a wicket on the final day while Anderson claimed a couple. Jordan and Tredwell took one wicket apiece.

The three-match series is still level at 0-0.

© Cricket World 2015