Day four of the second Test belonged to Australia, Bing Lee and Russell Tiffin. Lee went crashing through the West Indian tail and before you could say “Calypso collapso”, the Windies had gone from a promising 4-314 to all out for 352. All out, that is, except for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, left on 107 not out. Tiffin’s enthusiasm for upholding lbw appeals with somewhat baffling, considering his abstinence of last Test. Lee’s bowling was super, and they were probably all hitting the stumps – he even succeeded to hit the stumps just to prove it – but rules are rules. If the ball strikes outside the off stump, and the player is offering a shot, it’s not out.
Please let me dwell a little on the deeds of Chanderpaul or “Shiv”. Or perhaps I think “Chiv” is better. For a start, it is short for chivalrous. For another, it reminds me of Chivas Regal, a darn fine drop. In fact, I think I’ll just pop off for a nip now. So I’ll stick with Chiv. He may only be five foot two and weigh 42 kilos but he has balls of steel. For years he has stood solid while all around him (except Lara) crumbled. In fact, he was Lara’s best friend on many occasions. In the past twelve months, he has made five centuries and averaged 98.50. He has now scored four centuries against Australia, all in the Caribbean. The back-to-back effort of this series was all guts and probably no glory. But he can turn it on, too.
He scored two centuries in the 2003 series. In the first Test of that series he made a blistering 100 from just 72 balls. And in the 4th Test he scored another century to help the West Indies post a record 418 for victory. Chiv is playing is 111th Test, has scored 7,795 runs with 19 centuries. It’s not to be sneezed at. He doesn’t make many really big scores. His top score is 203 and he has passed 150 just twice. I recall when he started in international cricket that he made a lot of 70s and 80s. I heard Ian Chappell putting it down to his skinny legs. Wait for it – he really said this: Chanderpaul’s legs were so thin that no pads would fit him properly. He had to have the straps so tight that it cut the blood circulation in his legs and that’s why he had trouble going the distance. Perhaps Chiv has put on some weight or perhaps Chappelli was asking Shane Warne for advice on biophysics.
Anyway, Chiv is a champion and he deserves more support. It looks like he’ll get another chance to save his team. And who’s to say – he probably won’t get much help from the weather – but he just might succeed anyway.