PORT OF SPAIN, March 11 – England failed in their bid for a series-levelling victory, when West Indies held on stoutly for a hard-fought draw in the fifth and final Test here on Tuesday.
England’s bowlers put in a big effort, after the visitors set West Indies 240 for victory from a minimum of 66 overs, but the home team resisted strongly to finish on 114 for eight when time ran out.
Graeme Swann was the pick of the England bowlers with three wickets for 13 runs from 21 overs, Jimmy Anderson snared three for 24 from 16 overs, and Monty Panesar bagged two for 34 from 19.5 overs.
The result meant England lost the five-Test series 0-1, following an innings and 23-run defeat in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica, where they bowled England out for their third-lowest total in Tests of 51.
This was followed by the aborted second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua, and drawn Tests at the Antigua Recreation Ground and Kensington Oval.
The result also means that the visitors surrender the Wisden Trophy, symbol of Test supremacy between the two sides.
England made breakthroughs at regular intervals throughout the evening period to get a strong sniff of victory, but the West Indies ninth wicket pair of Denesh Ramdin and Fidel Edwards survived 19 balls to deny them.
England made a giant leap forward, when Swann trapped Shivanrine Chanderpaul lbw for six in the fourth over after West Indies continued from their tea-time total of 78 for three.
Three overs later, Anderson claimed Brendan Nash lbw for one to intensify the pressure on West Indies and leave them on 85 for one.
But time and overs, and not runs, were important, and England continued to work their way through the West Indies batting, when Panesar was fortunate to have Ryan Hinds caught at second slip for the top score of 20.
TV replays showed Hinds never got a touch on a delivery that spun back and hit his front pad, and ballooned to Paul Collingwood, and he could not appeal the decision since West Indies had already used up their two referrals.
England knew that a lame Chris Gayle, still moving gingerly from his hamstring strain when he reached his hundred two days earlier, was the last vestige of hope for West Indies, and when Panesar had him lbw for four, the visitors moved in to finish things off.
Six overs later, Anderson bowled Daren Powell for a duck, and this brought Edwards to the crease, and he again defied England and prevented them from winning a Test as he and Powell had done in the third match at the ARG.
Before lunch, Pietersen reached his hundred from just 88 balls, when he flicked Lionel Baker through backward square leg for a single, as he led England’s charge for quick runs after they continued from their bedtime total of 80 for three.
But he was dismissed off the third-last ball before lunch, when he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Fidel Edwards pulling a short, rising ball.
Pietersen had added 106 for the fifth wicket with Matt Prior in a sensational hour and 15 minutes of batting.
He had reached his 50 from 42 balls with the fifth of his nine fours off left-arm spin bowler Hinds, and Prior soon celebrated his 50 from 39 balls, when he turned a ball from Simmons into mid-wicket and picked a single.
But Prior, who was named Man-of-the-Match, was bowled for 61, when Baker extracted his middle-stump, and West Indies were able to slow things down a bit more.
Earlier, England had lost Collingwood in the fifth over of the morning, when he was caught and bowled by Hinds for nine.
England declared during lunch, and then grabbed a clutch of wickets before tea to strengthen their position.
Swann captured two wickets, including the prized scalp of Ramnaresh Sarwan, before the break.
Anderson gave England an early breakthrough, when Lendl Simmons was dubiously caught second slip for eight. TV replays showed there was some doubt about Collingwood’s catch.
Swann then took the next two wickets, when he had Devon Smith lbw for 17 slogging across the line, and Sarwan caught at slip for 14 to leave West Indies 58 for three.
But England could make no further headway before the break, as Hinds and Chanderpaul batted defiantly for 35 minutes to settle West Indies’ nerves. Then the real drama unfolded.