Chanderpaul's class and Ramdin's blasts lead Windies' fightback as New Zealand's fielding lets them down

There was a time shortly after lunch when New Zealand might have been eyeing a second consecutive three-day test win.

The West Indies' batting, after a steady first session, had once more folded limply. Four wickets fell in 34 balls for just nine runs. Wellington all over again.

At 86 for five, someone called up the Air New Zealand website. The hex was thus duly put on the rest of the day.

Enter the Crab, aka Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin for company.


The pair set about restoring pride to West Indian cricket.

They will start the second day of the final test at 289 for six with the ageless Guyanese on 94 and captain Darren Sammy yet to score.

Ramdin departed shortly before stumps for 107, his fourth test hundred, their 200-run stand a sixth wicket record in New Zealand.

Thanks to the 39-year-old Chanderpaul and the stroke-laden Ramdin, the West Indies will figure they've dodged not so much a bullet as a bazooka shell.

Chanderpaul, with his distinctive square-on stance, doesn't sing of cricket's batting elegance.

But he's the sort of unflappable player all teams need, particularly when backs are jammed against walls.

Ramdin will never be described as unflappable.

This was his fourth test ton and while at times he's given a flaky appearance at the crease, yesterday he was terrific, lacing the field - and particularly the offside - with 18 fours.

Chanderpaul, who was chanceless yesterday, is poised for his 29th century and starts today four short of overtaking Australian Allan Border to become the sixth-highest test run-maker.

Some batsmen pull crowds through the gate for the purity and the class of their strokeplay. Chanderpaul isn't one of those, but he has brought substantial depth to the West Indies for years.

A glance at the rest of the tourists' batting resources and, crab or not, the tourists need him now as much as ever.