Not bad from Tino as Best and Ramdin talk nah in bore draw
The third test match between England and the West Indies has sadly been abandoned as a draw, having lost three full days to rain.
Only the second and third day saw any play in Birmingham, but the most vibrant and controversial moments of the series happened in the six sessions viewers were able to enjoy.
The result sees England take the series 2-0, but the West Indies will hold their heads up high after this brief but glittering display.
The West Indies were struggling at 283/9 on a track which – in spite of Andrew Strauss’ decision to bowl first – did have something to offer to the batsmen.
What followed was one of those wonderful moments in sport that anyone, fan or not, can admire and identify with.
Tino Best is a very hard-working, passionate professional, one that shows the epitome of a “heart on his sleeve” attitude.
But in England he is known for one moment; that when Andrew Flintoff talked him out with the famous “mind yer windows, Tino” sledge.
On Saturday he gave people another reason to remember him by blasting an emphatic 95, a test match record for a man batting at number eleven.
Though being given said position, he did not bat or act like a tailender as he played flourishing strokes all around the ground.
And when he selected a poor shot, he cursed himself and rehearsed the shot he thought more appropriate.
He also managed two wickets in a fiery bowling exhibition.
His innings showed great courage against a still-strong England bowling attack.
Courage was also shown by his batting partner Denesh Ramdin, whose excellent hundred has faded into the background whilst Best has been propelled into the limelight.
It was Ramdin’s celebration of his hundred that was most courageous, though he of course batted supremely well to get there in the first place.
On securing the single he needed, he took off his helmet as most do, put his hand in his pocket and proceeded to fold an A4 piece of paper bearing the words, “Yeah Viv, talk nah”.
The West Indies legend Richards had recently criticised the wicket-keeper’s recent poor performances.
But for perceived unbecoming behaviour, he has been fined by the West Indies cricket board. He was charged for “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game”.
Richards responded to the incident by saying: “It’s like in a football match … if you are losing 5-0 and you score a goal in the 90th minute, you shouldn’t be running around jumping for joy.”
He added: “’I wouldn’t be happy with that. I set my standards a bit higher. It’s been a long time coming.”
Michael Holding agreed with his former captain: “If I was manager of that team, he would be getting a serious dressing down, and a fine.”
But it is Best’s knock that gained most of the comments.
The whole atmosphere was set up for him to achieve a historical and unlikely feat, but it was dispelled as Graham Onions’ slower ball was caught by Andrew Strauss.
Indeed Onions bowled well, taking 4-88 including the dismissal of a man who would surely be content with scoring 95.
However, Best himself was disappointed at his failure to make three figures.
He traipsed off the field, helmet shielding his face, while his captain, Darren Sammy, held his head in his hands.
In their unfinished reply, England finished on 221/5 with Kevin Pietersen scoring a dominant 78.
England’s number four looked very much back to his best in a week, which has seen his decision to retire be as criticised as Ramden’s theatrics.
Many have labelled his choice to call it a day as selfish and cowardly, as many believe he will continue playing in the IPL for far more money than he would earn playing for England.
But England will be glad he is still playing test cricket after such an over-powering performance.
Ian Bell also showed a return to form, scoring 76* and was re-introduced into the England one-day squad for their upcoming series.
The rain-filled ending was ill-befitting of the contents of the match itself, which contained moments that will be remembered for a while to come by those who viewed it.
But this test match should and will be remembered for Tino Best’s heart-warming display.
The England fans were fantastic towards him, chanting “Tino, give us a wave” whilst he was fielding.
And Tino, being who he is and how he is, put a beaming smile on his face and waved back.