The Australians know this because four years ago in the Caribbean he averaged more than four hours per innings against them. Little has changed. Chanderpaul’s six-hour unbeaten century in the first Test in Barbados has given West Indies the upper hand against Australia, although they must hope the time their batsmen used won’t cost them later in the game.
The dour West Indian display ended late in the afternoon when Darren Sammy declared, a rare privilege during his tenure as Test captain, at 449 for 9. It was the first time West Indies had ever had all 11 batsmen reach double figures in a Test innings, although they did so at a run rate of less than three an over. Australia’s openers survived until stumps and were 44 for 0, with David Warner on 27 and Ed Cowan on 13, and much work lay ahead for the visitors.
It is unlikely that men such as Warner, Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting will trickle along slowly on a good batting pitch, but they would be wise to exercise at least some of the caution shown by the likes of Chanderpaul, Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo over the past two days. At times the West Indies innings threatened to stagnate, but it wasn’t dormant for too long at a time.
Sammy himself made sure of that with a highly entertaining 41 from 36 balls. He batted just like he had during the limited-overs games last month and did not resist his naturally attacking urges. But there was aggression from both sides during a fascinating period in which Sammy was clearly shaken by a Watson bouncer that struck him on the back of the helmet as he ducked and turned his head.
Sammy’s response was to launch the next ball from Watson high and straight back over his head for six, to the cheers of the West Indian fans. But in what was perhaps a delayed reaction, Sammy appeared to be struggling at the end of the over when he received attention from the team doctor, and it took a few minutes for him to decide that he would bat on.
Earlier, Sammy had shown his intent with three powerful fours off the offspin of Nathan Lyon and after his blow to the head nothing changed. He pulled Watson for another six reminiscent of some of the strokes he played in the ODIs and cleared the cow corner boundary off Ben Hilfenhaus, who eventually removed him when Sammy top-edged an attempted pull to deep midwicket.
Chanderpaul had scored only eight during his 53-run partnership with Sammy but that was hardly surprising, for he is not the type to get caught up in the moment. He scored his runs with typically Chanderpaulesque nudges, clips and prods, although he also showed a willingness to attack when the opportunity arose and lofted Nathan Lyon’s offspin down the ground for six.
Along the way, Chanderpaul moved past Brian Lara to become the highest Test run scorer at Kensington Oval, and at length his century arrived with a swivel pull for two from his 235th delivery. With that stroke, he moved past Viv Richards into outright third on the list of all-time West Indies Test centurions with his 25th hundred.
Chanderpaul had been in the nineties when the No.11 Devendra Bishoo came to the crease and although he didn’t hurry to triple figures, he had no need to thanks to the ample support he received. Bishoo finished not out on 18 and Chanderpaul had 103 when the declaration arrived, as the Australian bowlers struggled to string wickets together.
They managed only two after tea, Kemar Roach caught at slip off Lyon for 16 and Fidel Edwards caught at long-on for 10 when he pulled David Warner’s legspin. Two wickets had also fallen in the middle session of the day, the loss of Sammy preceded by the run-out of Carlton Baugh for 22. Baugh took off for a single when Chanderpaul turned a ball from Lyon behind square leg and was caught short by Ryan Harris’ direct hit when sent back by Chanderpaul.
That ended a 31-run stand that had nearly been stifled in its first few deliveries when Ricky Ponting at slip dropped a tough chance when Baugh was on 4. The run-out was a bonus for the Australians, who used eight bowlers in a Test innings for the first time since the Delhi Test against India in 2008, as they sought a way through the gritty West Indian batting order.
During the first session, Chanderpaul lost two partners, Darren Bravo for 51 and Narsingh Deonarine for 21. Bravo and Chanderpaul had compiled a 73-run partnership before the breakthrough eventually arrived when Bravo drove on the up and edged Watson to gully. It was no surprise that Bravo fell to an edge; he had brought up his half-century with an edge wide of slip off Peter Siddle from his 114th delivery and had slashed a streaky boundary over gully the previous ball.
Australia followed with the wicket of Deonarine, who tried to work a shortish ball from Ryan Harris down into the ground and behind square leg but succeeded only in top-edging a catch for the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. Fortunately for West Indies, another Guyanese left-hander was able to stick around for much longer.