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Sarwan saves West Indies the blushes

St John’s (Antigua): Australia had to settle for a draw, after Ramnaresh Sarwan hit his 11th Test hundred and with compatriot Shivnarine Chanderpaul batted West Indies to safety in the second Test here on Monday.

Sarwan hit the top score of 128 and Chanderpaul gave admirable support with an unbeaten 77 to be the rocks upon which West Indies built their second innings total of 266 for five before the two sides decided it was pointless to continue about 30 minutes after the scheduled close with five overs remaining.

The result means Australia retain their hold on the Frank Worrell Trophy – symbol of Test supremacy against West Indies – and have not lost a Test series in the Caribbean since 1991.

They lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they completed a 95-run victory in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica. The third and final Test between the two sides starts on June 12 at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

The Australians had set West Indies 372 for victory, after deciding to declare their second innings at their overnight total of 244 for six.

When they reduced West Indies to 84 for three, the odds of a victory were highly in their favour, when Chanderpaul emerged from the pavilion about half-an-hour before lunch.

But Australia, gaining little or no assistance from the hard, docile pitch, endured a frustrating afternoon, as they could find no way through either Sarwan or Chanderpaul, and the pair spent four hours together to add a match-saving 143 for the fourth wicket.

Sarwan, leading West Indies in the Test in place of the wounded Chris Gayle, reached his milestone from the penultimate ball before the tea break, when he swept his 181st delivery from Stuart MacGill, playing in his final Test for Australia, through square leg for his 14th boundary.

Chanderpaul reached his half-century a short time later, when he cut MacGill through square cover for two and looked set to complete his second hundred of the match before the wickets of Sarwan and then Dwayne Bravo checked his progress. He still earned the Man-of-the-Match award.