Panesar late-strike gives England edge
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:West Indies v England
Player:CH Gayle, MS Panesar, MJ Prior, PD Collingwood
Event:England in West Indies 2008/09

DateLine: 8th March 2009


Monty Panesar gave England a much-needed breakthrough in their bid for a series-levelling win over West Indies, after Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior hit hundreds to bat them into a formidable position in the fifth and final Test.


Spinner Panesar removed Devon Smith for 28, as West Indies finished on 92 for one, replying to England's first innings total of 546 for six declared when stumps were drawn on the second day at Queen's Park Oval. West Indies, 1-0 up in the series, will begin the third day 454 runs behind.


Collingwood hit his second hundred of the series with 161, while Prior's career-best, undefeated 131 allowed the pair to establish a new England record of 218 for the fifth wicket in Tests against West Indies. Collingwood reached his ninth Test hundred from 206 balls in the over before lunch, when he paddled Brendan Nash to deep fine leg for a single, then Prior got to his second Test hundred from 156 balls in the last hour before tea, when he cut Ryan Hinds through backward point for two.


But England's hopes of wobbling West Indies with a few early breakthroughs hit a snag, when skipper Chris Gayle and Smith tucked into the visitors' fast bowlers to give the home team a rapid start. Two languid drives from Gayle through mid-off - one off James Anderson, the other off Stuart Broad - were memorable, and he also twice deposited off-spin bowler Graeme Swann over the long-on boundary for sixes.


But Panesar, brought into the attack for the third-last over, struck a vital blow late in the day, when he spun past the probing bat of Smith, playing defensively forward, and bowled him. Earlier, Collingwood and Prior carried the visitors to 372 for four at lunch after West Indies removed England captain Andrew Strauss, for a fine 142, and Owais Shah (33) in the first half-hour of the day. Collingwood batted steadily, but it was Prior, playing his first innings after his week of paternity leave, that led the counter-attack, reaching his 50 from 52 balls, when he cut Hinds to deep cover for a single.


The pair were brought together with England on 268 for four, and West Indies felt justified about their decision to take the second new ball immediately. Strauss was bowled around his legs for 142, when he moved too far inside the line to flick Fidel Edwards, following an innings that lasted close to 6-1/4 hours in which he struck 11 boundaries from 271 balls. Shah, who had retired hurt on 29 with severe cramps in his hands the previous day, returned to continue his innings with a scintillating straight drive for four off Lionel Baker before he was run out for 33, failing to beat substitute fielder Dwayne Bravo's direct hit at the bowler's end.


After lunch, Prior reached his milestone, but Collingwood was dismissed to leave England reached 490 for five at tea. Collingwood and Prior had been fortunate to have lasted that long, after Shivnarine Chanderpaul put the England wicketkeeper/batsman down on 76 at slip off Hinds. Prior forged on, and Collingwood soon reached 150, when he pushed Lendl Simmons to long-off for a single.


But he lost his wicket a short while later, when Baker, playing in only his second Test, trapped him lbw for his first Test wicket in the last half-hour before the break. Collingwood played across a well-pitched ball moving back from outside the off-stump and was struck on the back pad. Umpire Russell Tiffin ruled not-out, but West Indies challenged the decision, and won the appeal following a referral to video umpire Aleem Dar.


After tea, Prior continued to lead the hunt for runs for England, and on 109, umpire Tiffin adjudged him lbw to Baker. But he was saved following a video referral which showed he was struck outside the line of off-stump.