3rd Test: England 221-5 as contest moves closer to a draw
Birmingham: England reached 221-5 at stumps on the fourth day against West Indies on Sunday with the third Test heading for a draw despite Tino Best getting the highest ever score by a No. 11 batsman in Test history.
England trails West Indies by 205 runs at Edgbaston, needing another 56 runs to avoid the follow on. West Indies earlier posted 426 all out with Best out for 95.
However, heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow and with two days already lost to the weather neither side is likely to have enough time to win.
"It`s hard in a three-day game to get a result," England`s Kevin Pietersen said. "It looks like a dead rubber now, I can`t see them taking 15 wickets."
England stumbled to 49-3 until Pietersen hit 78, including one six and 11 fours, and Ian Bell made 76 not out. Best was West Indies` most effective bowler with 2-37 despite his disappointment at falling just five runs short of a Test century. Best put on a West Indies record stand of 143 for the last wicket with Denesh Ramdin, who made 107 not out.
"It was amazing," Ramdin said. "Tino came out and played some unbelievable shots, I didn`t think he had all those shots in his armoury. He said `keep going big dog, I`ll bat with you to your 100 and you bat with me to my 50.`"
West Indies resumed on 280-8 and Steven Finn removed Ravi Rampaul (2) with the third ball of the day, only for Best to enter and score his highest ever first class innings, which included a six and 14 fours in 112 balls.
Ramdin hit nine fours and brought up his century with a single from Bresnan. Ramdin celebrated by holding up a piece of paper with a message in capital letters that read "Yea Viv talk nah," a reference to criticism he`d received from former West Indies great Viv Richards.
Ramdin said the paper was in his pocket since Saturday morning and that it was a response to comments by Richards after Ramdin had made just seven runs in two innings in the second Test.
"Sir Viv had something in the press and I think I got a bit emotional and it came out the way it did," Ramdin said. "Having said that he`s a legend of the Caribbean."
Best, who averaged just 9.8 in Test cricket going into this match, belied his reputation as a tailender by smashing Finn for a textbook cover drive, ducking under a bouncer from the next delivery and then forcing Finn through the covers.
In the sixth over of the day Best edged successive balls from Onions through a vacant area of the slip cordon to the boundary, to pass his previous highest Test score of 27.
In Onions` next over Best again hit successive balls for four, but Finn was denied a wicket the following over when Pietersen dropped Ramdin at gully — the fourth dropped catch of the innings.
After 40 minutes of frustration Strauss threw the ball to spinner Graeme Swann, but the result was the same as Best carved consecutive balls through the covers for four.
When Bresnan replaced Finn, Best whacked him through cow corner for four then brought up his maiden Test 50 with a scampered single off the same bowler.
Best superbly cut Bresnan for four to pass the previous best score for a number 11, 75 by India`s Zaheer Khan in 2004.