England v West Indies: Tino Best sets record as hosts toil

Record-breaking final wicket partnership between Tino Best and Denesh Ramdin puts the West Indies in control of final Test

By William Roe

England are in an uncomfortable position after day four of the final Test against West Indies after a record-breaking final wicket partnership between Tino Best and Denesh Ramdin put the tourists in control.

Best, who has not played Test cricket for three years, was in a buoyant mood at the close of play in Brimingham after picking up two wickets to add to his fabulous 95, which he scored batting at No11.

“I always back myself and I’ve been working really hard in the gym,” he told Channel 5. “I back my ability and I’m always looking to bowl quick, the day I don’t bowl quick I’m going to finish playing cricket.”

The 30-year-old scored a remarkable 95 for the tourists to frustrate England as he and wicketkeeper Ramdin put on 143 for the tenth wicket after the Caribbean side started the day on 280-8.

Best’s score was the highest score by a No11 in Test match cricket, beating the previous record set by India’s Zaheer Kahn of 75, and helped the tourists to post 426 in their first innings.

When Steven Finn got the wicket of Ravi Rampaul early on, caught behind for two, the remaining wicket would be a formality. But on his return to Test cricket Best had other ideas, and fell agonisingly close to what would have been a remarkable century.

The celebration from the West Indies’ balcony, where every member of the team and management were up on their feet, for Best’s fifty showed what it meant to the whole camp.

Only a Graham Onions’ slower ball, which Best edged to England captain Andrew Strauss, brought a close to a memorable innings and left England with a mountain to climb to draw level.

By the close of play, England were 221 for 5 and still 205 runs shy of West Indies first-innings total.

However, with the first two days rained off, a draw is now the only possible result going into the final day’s play tomorrow.

Kevin Pietersen showed why he will be missed in limited overs cricket with an accomplished 78, before he fell to part-time spinner Marlon Samuels.

He and Ian Bell, who was in fine form, put on a century stand for the fourth wicket after England struggled early on and still remain 56 runs adrift of the follow-on.

Bell remains unbeaten on 76 not out overnight, and will be joined in the morning by night watchman Steven Finn who is yet to get off the mark.

Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow managed only 18 before he was bowled by Best – who weighed in with two wickets, including Strauss, to cap off one of his best day’s in a West Indies shirt.

Bairstow’s place in the side will no doubt come under further scrutiny, after a poor display in the previous Test at Trent Bridge and another failure on Sunday in Birmingham.

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