BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - West Indies pace bowler Tino Best smashed 95 on Sunday to record the highest score by a number 11 batsmen in the history of test cricket on the fourth day of the third and final test against England at Edgbaston.
Best added 143 for the final wicket with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who completed his second test hundred to remain 107 not out in a West Indies first innings total of 426 in the rain-interrupted match. England have already won the series 2-0.
Best, playing his first test for three years, was finally out when he skied an attempted slog to Andrew Strauss running back from slip off Graham Onions. He hung his head briefly in disappointment.
The Barbadian had, though, registered the first half-century against England by a number 11 in 106 years. Only Australian Fred Spofforth (1885) and South African Bert Vogler (1906) had previously managed a half-century in the final batting position.
It was also the first test half-century by any number 11 in England for 46 years since John Snow made 59 not out against West Indies at the the Oval.
England struggled for a breakthrough without their two leading fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were rested.
Ramdin was solid but outshone by the flamboyance of Best. He had contributed just eight runs when the 50 stand was registered and 32 for the 100 partnership, which came in 117 deliveries.
When Ramdin reached three figures with a single off Tim Bresnan to fine leg, he took a handwritten note out of his pocket and showed it to the commentary box. It read “Yeah Viv Talk Nah” in an apparent reference to criticism from former West Indies captain Viv Richards who is commentating for BBC Radio.
Ramdin was dropped on 69 by Kevin Pietersen when the score was 326 for nine, though it was a difficult chance at gully from a firm cut shot. He had resumed on 60 and saw Ravi Rampaul out to the third ball of the day, caught behind off Steven Finn, to bring in Best.
Best then thrilled a sparse crowd on a pleasant Birmingham morning as he savaged England’s bowling attack with a series of textbook shots all around the ground, making light of England’s place at the top of the world rankings.
Best hit 14 fours and a straight six off Bresnan after he had raised the team’s 350 with a lofted drive for four over extra-cover, again off his former Yorkshire team mate Bresnan.
He reached his fifty with a single to extra cover off Bresnan, when he then engaged in some wild celebrations and kissed the badge of his maroon helmet. His eventual total, from 112 balls, bettered the 75 that India’s Zaheer Khan scored as last man in the order in Dhaka in 2004.