West Indies force a draw at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium

Holder scores maiden century to take the home side to safety

By (AFP)

Published: Sun 19 Apr 2015, 12:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:41 PM

Antigua— James Anderson became England’s leading wicket-taker in Test history but celebration of the historic milestone could not be complemented by a team triumph as the West Indies hung on for a draw on the final day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Wednesday.

Jason Holder played the innings of his young cricketing life to take the home side to safety with three wickets in hand at 350 for seven after they were set the improbable target of 438. His maiden Test hundred of 103 not out, which spanned almost four hours during which he faced 149 deliveries and struck 15 fours, rescued the Caribbean team from what appeared to be a hopeless position when they slipped to 189 for six early in the afternoon session.

It was at that point, after first innings centurion Jermaine Blackwood added to the litany of dismissals via irresponsible shots from the top-order, that Holder came to the crease. His calm, controlled batting was the perfect foil to Denesh Ramdin’s growing defiance, the pair putting on 105 runs for the seventh wicket when Anderson broke the record and gave his team one last chance to push for victory heading into the final hour of the match.

“It was just a matter of staying out there and basically having a knock,” said Holder, who was chosen as man-of-the-match.

“The word we’ve been using as motivation in our dressing room is ‘belief.’ That belief made us all feel that the match could be saved, even with the bad start we had at the end of the day.”

Tailender Kemar Roach solidly defended everything hurled at him to end unbeaten on 15 off 75 deliveries. He survived one scare when given out caught behind down the leg-side off Anderson only for umpire Billy Bowden’s decision to be reversed on referral by the batsman. A swift afternoon capitulation appeared inevitable when the West Indies lost three important wickets in the morning, resuming at 98 for two.

Samuels’ dismissal for 23 after an hour’s play followed the demise just a few minutes earlier of the other overnight batsman, Devon Smith. Having restrained himself admirably in more than three hours at the crease, the left-handed opener miscued a lofted on-drive at James Tredwell to be caught by Gary Ballance at mid-on for 65.

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