NORTH SOUND, ANTIGUA – An unbeaten 103 by Jason Holder helped West Indies salvage a nail-biting draw against England in the first test Friday, spoiling James Anderson’s celebrations after becoming his country’s record wicket taker
Holder had successive partnerships of 105 with captain Denesh Ramdin and 56 with Kemar Roach as West Indies reached 350-7 to hold on until the end of the final day. England had declared its second innings after reaching 333-7, setting West Indies and unrealistic target of 438 to win.
The 23-year-old Holder, whose previous highest score was 58, joined wicket-keeper Ramdin at the fall of the last of the specialist batsmen, first innings century-maker Jermaine Blackwoood, at 189-5 8.1 overs after lunch.
He remained to the end after facing 149 balls in just over three and a half hours. He hit 15 fours, mainly fluent strokes through the off-side.
His partnership with Ramdin ended when Anderson induced a catch to first slip to end the captain’s resolute 57 that occupied three hours. With that wicket, Anderson surpassed Ian Botham’s England record of 383 in tests, having drawn level earlier in his 100th test when he had overnight batsman Marlon Samuels caught at gully for 23 in his 11th over.
The milestone was celebrated by the bowler and the England team on the field and his family in the stands. Botham, commentating for television, was at the stadium to see his mark surpassed.
Roach then stayed with Holder for 18.2 overs before England conceded with two balls remaining.
Holder passed his hundred with two fours in off-spinner James Tredwell’s 40th over, seven balls before the end when Roach was unbeaten 15 after keeping out 55 balls in an hour and a half at the crease.
Resuming the day at 98-2, the West Indies had no realistic chance of achieving the winning target of 438.
New West Indies head coach Phil Simmons said that the first hour would be critical to the outcome. In that time, England removed both overnight batsmen, Devon Smith and Samuels, adding left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the 40-year-old veteran of 162 tests, 10 minutes before lunch.
The wicket of Chanderpaul, leg before wicket to second-string off-spinner Joe Root, opened the way to the West Indies lower order and strengthened England’s position.
England appeared to have the match wrapped up when first innings century-maker Blackwood charged down the pitch, swung wildly at fast bowler Chris Jordan and edged a catch to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.
But only one wicket fell for the rest of the day as England’s hopes of an early lead in the three-match series were dashed.
The second test between the two sides will get underway in St. George’s, Grenada, on Tuesday.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5